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Full text of "The life of Cassius Marcellus Clay : memoirs, writings, and speeches, showing his conduct in the overthrow of American slavery, the salvation of the Union, and the restoration of the autonomy of the states"

391. Clay, Gassius -M. Life 
Memoirs, Writings, Speeches. 
Was a strong Kentucky Union 

Man in Civil 'Jar. Vol. 2 
was never published. Very 
scarce. Vol. I 600 pp. 
Cincinnati 1SS6 • h?75.00 



CSa-fz/ '***%< 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services through an Indiana State Library LSTA Grant 



http://www.archive.org/details/lifeofcassiusmarOOinclay 



THE LIFE 



OF 



Cassius Marcellus Clay. 

MEMOIRS, 
WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES, 

SHOWING 

HIS CONDUCT IN THE OVERTHROW OF AMERICAN SLAVERY, 

THE SALVATION OF THE UNION, AND THE 

RESTORA TION OF THE A UTONOMY 

OF THE STATES. 



"Quorum — pars fui." 



IN TWO VOLUMES, WRITTEN AND COMPILED BY HIMSELF, AND 
ILLUSTRATED WITH ENGRAVINGS ON STEEL. 



VOLUME I 



CINCINNATI, OHIO: 
J. FLETCHER BRENNAN & CO. 

SOLD BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY. 
1886. 



COPYRIGHT BY 

CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY, 

1886. 



EI.ECTROTVrED AT THE 

FRANKLIN TYPE FOUNDRY, 

CINCINNATI, O. 



PREFACE. 



Among the millions of books which fill the world, as the dust 
of summer, or the leaves of autumn, how few are Autobiographies! 
And, of those few, how many are fragmentary — illuminating a few 
promontories only ; whilst the vast continent of life remains dark ! 

The acts of the drama of a life may be few, but the scenes — 
the thoughts — are infinite. It seems to be a law of nature that 
the memory of evil is lasting; whilst the joys of life are soon for- 
gotten. How shall we solve this hard problem — the Spanish apo- 
thegm — "There is a skeleton in every house?" 

In Hamlet's soliloquies the partial enumeration of the ills of Life 
seem sufficient to make Death tolerable, if not desirable; but all its 
ills are not there set forth. Often have I heard men and women 
say, they would not live life over again. And so published rem^ 
iniscences and memoirs are few; because they occasion a faint 
repetition of life. 

Of these ills, not mentioned by Shakespeare, the greatest is 
Calumny, which, unlike those others, follows us even beyond the 
gates of death. It is often said, "a lie will not live forever;" 
that "truth is omnipotent, and public justice certain." These dicta 
may be very encouraging to youth ; but to me, who have lived 
long, and seen much of life, they are very unsafe maxims. For 
it may just as well be said that, "a lie will travel miles, whilst 
truth is putting on his boots." 

in 



IV PREFACE. 

The Gracci were, no doubt, patriots. The ruin of Rome came 
of not following their advice ; yet the voice of mankind has branded 
them as villains. Henry Clay was hounded to his death with the 
cry of "bargain and sale," because he took the best man and the 
best cause in charge, as was his right and patriotic duty. Now, 
no man conceals the avowal that combinations of personal ambi- 
tions for noble purposes are not only virtuous but wise. The mis- 
fortune of the Gracci, and of Clay, and others, including myself, 
is, that those who attack great interests, or thwart the ends of 
great parties, incur immortal hatreds. 

Those who follow principles can not always remain in the same 
party. As the enemy of Slavery, the Democrats hate me; and, as 
the vindicator of Southern autonomy of the States, the Republicans 
(in the language of one writing of Seward's hostility,) held toward 
me "unflinching enmity." Of course, there are great-souled and 
just men in all parties. But the union of all personal ambitions, 
and all honors and emoluments, in parties, creates that esprit du 
corps which is stronger than all other human ties, and over-rides 
all moral and religious duties. 

Every man should be estimated, not by his personal success — 
the emoluments and honors of office — but by the triumph of those 
principles which add to human happiness. In the history of the 
world, the latter only are remembered with gratitude. The over- 
throw of Slavery in this Nation, in the judgment of many, was a 
more important event than even American Independence. We 
came out from monarchy by great sacrifice of blood and treasure ; 
but, in the course of human events, we may wisely return to it 
again. But Slavery, at great sacrifice, is abolished ; and, whether 
we remain one nation,* or many — whether Republic or Empire — 
is gone forever ! Can any one estimate the sum of happiness which 
has been secured to the human race by its death? 

So the restoration of the autonomy of the States was but 
another form of the great struggle for the Government of the 
People, as against the Divine Right of Kings. These States, 
ruled by a central power at Washington, by means of patronage 



PREFACE. V 

and military influence, still bearing the name of Republic, would 
be in fact a corrupt and tyrannical despotism, without the whole- 
some checks upon tyranny which come from the hereditary de- 
scent of the rulers. 

In the light of these great events, I desire to stand before the 
reader, and receive such consideration among men as my share 
in their triumph shall merit. The episodes and incidents, and 
even the actors in this grand drama, are but the filling in of the 
stage scenery ; and, in comparison with the great principles deter- 
mined, are nothing but "leather and prunella." 

C. M. C. 

White Hall, Madison Co., Ky., 1885. 



LINES TO C. M. C. 

BY MRS. E. J. EAMES. 

Brave heart, and truly noble! that didst single 

From all Earth's lofty aims the loftiest one, 
Pursuing it by means which might not mingle 

With views less generous — nobly hast thou done! 
And dared and striven — through every obstacle; 
And steadfastly resisting, through each ill, 

The Wrong and False. Sure, thou hast read and pondered 
With highest wisdom on those words divine — 

"Love one another;" therefore ne'er hath wandered 
The star that led thy spirit to the shrine 

Of holiest truth! Still may the angels have 
Their charge o'er thee. Still (with the hope sublime 

To serve thy race) mayest thou all danger brave, 
And win thy way, now, and through future time ! 

For Truth — Truth pure and indestructible — 
Is the strong ark wherein thy safety lies. 
Even 'midst the slanders of fierce enemies 

Shalt thou be armed with hero-courage still 
T' oppose the Wrong, and pray God speed the Right. 
Now steadily upon the wondrous light 

Of Freedom, in the Future, fix thy glance; 
Then, animated by the grandest dream — 

The noblest earthly hope — still to advance 
(With fearless will) the Cause that must redeem 

The promise written on the Nation's scroll — 

The pledge that in the Country of the Free 
Men shall have Equal Rights! Courage, O ardent soul! 
Press onward — onward still! and thou shalt reach the goal! 



LINES TO C. M. CLAY. 

BY JOHN H. BRYANT, (BROTHER OF WM. CULLEN BRYANT.) 

Bold champion of the poor! a thorny road 

Before thse lies ; for thou hast bared thy breast, 
And nerved thine arm, to lift the heavy load, 

And break the chains from limbs too long oppressed. 
Tyrants' and Custom's dupes may strive in vain ; 

Truth wields a weapon mightier far than they. 
Huge bars and gates of brass are rent in twain, 

Touched by the magic of her peaceful sway. 
Hold then thy course, nor bate a jot of hope. 

Lo ! the day dawns along our eastern shore ; 

Soon shall the night of prejudice be o'er, 
And a bright morning give thee freer scope 

To rouse thy countrymen to deeds of good ; 

And just and peaceful laws shall save the land from blood. 
Princeton, Nov. 7, 1845. 

VI 



CONTENTS OF VOLUME I. 



CHAPTER I. 

Early Years. — The Clay Family. — My Home.— First Fight.— My Mother. 

Fight against Odds. — Boyhood. — School-mates. — My Father. Youth. 

Educational Career. — Slavery. — Mary. — Sidney Payne Clay. Hen- 
dricks' Boy Joe.— The Iron Collar.— Fight with George.— Education 
continued. — Journey to Cincinnati. — Adventure with Birdseye. 
"Never tell any one your Business." — Education continued. — St. 
Joseph's College, Bardstown. — Fight at St. Joseph's. — Fellow- 
students, 

CHAPTER II. 



PAGE 



17 



My Father, Green Clay. — His Character.— His Apothegms.— His Military 
Career. — His Letter to Capt. M. Harrison. — His treatment of his 
Challenger. — His fondness for the Peaceful, Innocent, and Good. 
His Death. — Why he came to Kentucky. — Transylvania University. 
Its President and Professors. — Fellow-students. — I visit Washington 
City and Baltimore. — President Andrew Jackson. — Estimate of his 
Character. — John C. Calhoun. — Martin Van Buren. — Journey North. 
John Quincy Adams. — George Ticknor. — Daniel Webster. — Prompt to 
keep Appointments, 37 

CHAPTER III. 

Yale College. — Its President and Professors. — William Lloyd Garrison. 
His logical discourse converts me. — I deliver the Washington Cen- 
tennial Oration of 1832. — Am Baptized. — Christianity, reflections 
concerning. — Class-mates. — Joseph Longworth. — His father, Nicho- 
las Longworth. — American Grapes and Wines. — Allan Taylor Ca- 
perton. — The Lost Love. — Lines Poetic. — "Girls and Boys go a 
Hickory-nut-hunting." — A Portrait. — Engaged, 54 

CHAPTER IV. 

Womans' Rights. — Death of Dr. J. P. Declarey. — Political Life. — Elected 
to the Kentucky House of Representatives. — Robert Wickliffe. — I 
speak at Stanford, Lincoln County. — Fight with James C. Sprigg. 
The Canvass of 1841. — Duel with Wickliffe. — Fight with S. M. 

Brown, at Russell's Cave, 69 

VII 



VIII CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER V. 

FAGK 

Tried for Mayhem. — Voluntarily defended by Henry Clay and John 
Speed Smith. — Brown's evidence proves a conspiracy to kill me. — 
Sketch of Henry Clay. — A few sentences from his Address to the 
Jury. — Declared not Guilty. — Death of Brown. — The State of 
Parties. — Henry Clay and the Presidential contest of 1844. — Daniel 
Webster and Henry Clay.— The Canvass in Boston. — In New York. — 
Result adverse to H. Clay. — He unjustly denounces the Abolition- 
ists. — My Reply, '. . 86 

CHAPTER VI. 

"The True American." — Why it was begun. — Employment of an Editor. 
He is frightened into desertion. — The Office armed to repel ex- 
pected Assault. — The Committee of Sixty. — Co-Laborers. — James B. 
Clay. — Letter from my Mother. — Letter from Committee of Cincin- 
nati Citizens, and my Reply. — Removal of Office of "True Amer- 
ican" to Cincinnati. — Episode from Secret History of the Southern 
Confederacy — Time 1864, 105 

CHAPTER VII. 

The Mexican War. — James S. Jackson. — Col. H. Marshall. — Buffalo 
Hunting. — Comanche Hunting Camps. — Tigers. — Rough Surgery. — 
Morning Light. — A Snake Story. — The First Shot. — A Mule's Sa- 
gacity. — Lost for Days on our Return Trip. — K's Despondency. — A 
Night with Robbers. — My School-mate Desperado. — After Tragedy 
a Comedy. — Arrival at last at Lavaca, 117 

CHAPTER VIII. 

General Wool invites me to join his command. — Wild Horse and Turkey- 
hunting. — John U. Waring. — Thomas F. Marshall. — James S. Jackson. 
The march to Monterey, 1845. — Gen. Z. Taylor. — Gen. W. O. Butler. 
Gallagher's experience. — The Mexican hacienda. — Dr. Solon Bor- 
land. — Surrounded by 3,000 Mexican Cavalry, our force of 75 sur- 
renders. — Mier. — Salao. — Escape of Henry. — Threatened with mur- 
der. — I protest, and the Mexican commander relents. — Recognized 
by an Englishman, when nearly starved, and we are fed. — Mobbed 
at Queratero, we escape into a church, 135 

CHAPTER IX. 

The City of Mexico. — A friend in need. — Dr. Solon Borland's enmity. 
The Water-Cure cures me. — Approach of General Scott. — Removed 
to Toluca, Capital of the State of Mexico. — Journey thither. — 
Characteristics of its People noticed by Humboldt and Pritchard. 
Lolu. — Indian gravity over-rated. — Liberation and Return to City 
of Mexico. — Exchanged, and leave for Home. — Reception in Lex- 
ington. — Earthquakes, 152 



CONTENTS. IX 

CHAPTER X. 

PAGE 

The Political Situation. — Nomination and Election of General Z. 
Taylor President of the United States. — Defense of Henry Clay. 
Results of his Defeat. — The Dissolution of Parties in 1848. — "The 
True American" becomes "The Examiner." — Emancipation Conven- 
tion in Frankfort. — Freedom of Speech. — A Memorable Day. — My 
conduct in Mexico endorsed by "The Salt River Tigers." — The 
New Constitution. — Death of Cyrus Turner. — Kentucky Constitu- 
tion passed in 1850. — Five Letters to Hon. Daniel Webster, . . 168 

CHAPTER XI. 

"Liberty of Speech" vindicated. — I separate from the Whigs. — Anti- 
Slavery Women : Harriet Beecher' Stowe ; Evelyn Woodson ; Lucre- 
tia Mott. — The prejudice of Color. — Letter from the Ladies of 
the Ashtabula County (Ohio) Anti-Slavery Society. — Overthrow of 
the Whig Party. — Canvass for Governor of Kentucky in 185 i. — 
Berea College.— John J. Crittenden. — John C. Breckinridge and 
Robert P. Letcher.— I save the Life of William Willis. — W. C. P. 
Breckinridge, 206 

CHAPTER XII. 

Joel T. Hart. — -His letters to me from Florence, Italy. — My speech 
at a Banquet given him at Lexington, Ky. — Hart's "Triumph of 
Woman." — His death. — The Presidential Canvass .of 1852. — The 
Johnsons. — The Free-Soil Party of 1856. — How I first met Abra- 
ham Lincoln. — Our further acquaintance. — My Correspondence 
with Rev. James S. Davis, of Cabin Creek, Ky. — Letter to "Rich- 
mond Messenger." — I speak at Chicago, 222 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Origin of the Republican Party. — The Revolutionary Committee of my 
County. — My Letter to the Citizens of Madison County. — Turmoil in 
Kentucky. — Remarks of the St. Louis "Democrat." — Another Tri- 
umph for Free Speech. — Letter to the Louisville "Journal." — 
Testimonial to Mrs. C. M. Clay. — Interview with Wm. H. Seward. 
Resolutions of the Young Men's Republican Union of New York. — 
President Lincoln's first Cabinet. — Promised the Secretary of War 
Portfolio, I am offered the Mission to Spain. — I refuse, but accept 
the Mission to Russia 239 

CHAPTER XIV. 
The Clay Battalion. — Defense of Washington City. — The C. M. Clay 
Guards, 1861. — General James H. Lane. — Testimonials. — Hon. Charles 
Sumner urges my acceptance of the Commission of Major-General. 
I decline, and proceed on my Mission to Russia. — W. R. Henley. 
Scraps of History. — Issue of Veracitv between -B. F. Wade and 
myself. — Telegram from the Blairs. — Continued Assaults by the 
Seward faction. — Extracts from the Newspapers — New York 
"Evening Post," "World," and Erie (Pa.) "Gazette," indormng 
me for Secretary of War • 2 59 



X CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XV. 

PAGE 

.Leaving Washington ; An Adventure. — At Sea. — Charles Francis Adams. 
British Parliament. — Lord Brougham. — Lord Palmerston. — Mrs. 
Stowe at Stafford House. — My "'Times' Letter." — J. Lathrop 
Motley. — Letter of John Bright. — Public Breakfast given me in 
Paris. — Reception by the Czar. — The Russian Court. — L. Q. C. La- 
mar. — Diplomacy as a Profession. — Her Imperial Majesty, the Em- 
press. —Note from the Princess Radziwill, ...... 283 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Recalled and Commissioned Major-General of Volunteers. — Simon Cam- 
eron and Bayard Taylor succeed me. — Return to Washington City. 
Overthrow of the Slave-Power foreshadowed. — President Lincoln's 
Letters. — Salmon P. Chase. — My Washington Speech. — Interview 
with General Halleck. — The President sends me to Kentucky. — The 
Battle of Richmond, Ky. — Prof. Blinn's Eulogy. — Halleck's Special 
Order set aside by the President. — I resign my Major-general's 
Commission 299 

CHAPTER XVII. 

Policy of Reconstruction denounced. — Letter to Geo. D. Prentice to 
that effect. — Interview with Stanton. —Letter from W. W. Sea- 
ton. — Letter from Stanton. — I meet James A. Garfield. — Letters 
from S. P. Chase. — Henry Bergh as my Secretary of Legation. — I 
speak, on invitation, at Albany, New York. — My Speech, refused 
publication in the leading newspapers, i publish as a pamphlet. 
i return to russia. — letter from bayard taylor. — blsmarck. — the 
Duke of Montebello. — Lord Napier. — Nihilism. — Alexander II. — T. 
Morris Chester. — Received a guest at Gatchina Palace. — My esti- 
mate of the Emperor, Alexander II. — His Portrait. — Letters from 
Prince Gortchacow, 317 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

High Life in Russia. — Infant Asylums and the Ballet. — Actors and 
Singers. — Lucca, Patti, and Ristorj. — Fanny Kemble; her letter. — 
Letter of the Baroness Louise Jomini. — How I escaped from "De- 
vouring Dogs." — The Military. — Invited, I visit the Princess Dal- 
gorouki. — Associations. — The Clubs. — The City of St. Petersburg. 
Marriage of Alexander III. — The Crown Prince of Prussia. — Great 
Britain's Prince of Wales. — Prince George of Denmark, now Kinc 
of Greece. — The Grand Duchess Olga. — The White Hall, its Con- 
servatory. — The Hermitage great Gallery of Paintings, . . . 341 

CHAPTER XIX. 

Russia. — Popular Pastimes. — Ice Mountains. — Pretty poor French for 
KiisiNEss purposes. — The Perkins-Claim Swindle. — Seward telegraphs 
me to press it. — Prince Gortchacow's Decision. — M. de Catacazy's 
letter to Chief Justice Chase. — Catacazy's Defense. — Seward re- 
quests ME TO RESIGN. — I DO SO CONDITIONALLY. — THE SENATE REFUSES 



CONTENTS. XI 

PAGE 

to appoint my successor. — flnal defeat of seward. — perkins-claim 
Swindle revived by Bancroft Davis, under auspices of the Immortal 
Fish. — Captain G. B. Fox and his Mission. — John Van Buren. — 
Prince Gortchacow entertains the Diplomatic Corps. — Admiral 
Farragut. — Count Bergh and Prince Suwarrow. — Count Mouravieff 
Amousky. — Public Dinner given me at Moscow. — I make a Tariff 
speech. — City of Moscow. — William L. Winans. — The Orloff breed 
of Horses, . . . / . . , . 361 



CHAPTER XX. 

Russian Habits. — Religion and Humanity. — "Russian Cruelties." — The 
Grand Dukes Constantine and Nicholas. — A scene at the private 
theater of the Princess DTtalie-Suwarrow. — Comparative Courage. 
Gen. U. S. GrAnt. — Letter of Gen. Edward M. McCook. — Gen. John 
A. Rawlins. — How I lost the favor of Her Majesty the Empress. 
Prince Alexander Dolgorouki enlightens me. — Her Imperial Maj- 
esty's Portrait, 41S 



CHAPTER XXI. 

Madame Grimski Corsikoff. — Prince Gortchacow, with Portrait. — My 
estimate of his fine character. — His letter to me on the fall of 
Richmond. — The new Union of the States. — Austria's reason for 
disliking the success of the Federal arms. — Her position among 
the Powers. — Reflections on the eventual condition of Europe. 
Destiny of England. — German Beer-Gardens. — Souvenirs. — Photo- 
graphs, 438 



CHAPTER XXII. 

Governor Curtin, of Pennsylvania, is appointed to relieve me. — I re- 
turn Home. — "An American Diplomate." — Effect of my Cuban 
Speech. — The Immortal Fish. — Catacazy and the Perkins' Claim 
Swindle. — General Grant and the Battle of Shiloh. — Bazil Duke's 
Statement. — The Autonomy of the Southern States. — My Speech 
in New York City silenced by Custom-House Claquers. — I pay the 
"Tribune" for publishing it correctly. — Charles A. Dana. — How 
the South was made "Solid," 45 1 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

Hamilton Fish, W. H. Seward's successor, reproduces the latter's False- 
hoods and Calumnies against me. — On sight of same i publish my re- 
sponse, with letters from Russian Notabilities and Dignitaries trium- 
phantly vindicating me.— The Grand Duke Alexis of Russia extends 
to me distinguished honor, at st. louis. — h. flsh & co. fail as 
conclusively as W. H. Seward & Co. in securing my condemnation, 463 



XII CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

PAGE 

George W. Julian of Indiana. — Men of Mason County, Kentucky, ap- 
prove, IN 1845, THE SUPPRESSION OF THE " TRUE AMERICAN." — LATER MEN 

of Mason County "Resolve" again. — In 1848 I propose the Frank- 
fort Convention. — Great progress made by 1849, AS shown by fur- 
ther "Resolves" of Men of Mason County. — I speak in Maysville; 

AFTERWARD IN BROOKVILLE. — AM MET BY \VM. C. MARSHALL. — HlS TACTICS 
BEING DEFEATED, AS A POLITICIAN HE IS RUINED. — PROPOSING TO FORM A 

National Party, I invite G. W. Julian to assist me. — Marshall's 
later tactics overcome us, and we retire. — how his party supports 
Mr. Julian 479 



CHAPTER XXV. 

The Greeley Movement inaugurated. — Invited to speak in St. Louis, I 
propose Horace Greeley for the Presidency.— Gen. Beauregard. — 
The 1872 Liberal Republican Convention in Cincinnati. — Stanley 
Matthews and Carl Schurz. — Nomination of Horace Greeley and 
B. Gratz Brown. — Henry Watterson. — Imperialism. — Canvass of 
1872 and 1876. — I visit Mississippi. — How I found matters political 
there. — Threatened fight near Friar's Point. — Mississippi ejects the 
Carpet-Baggers, - 501 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

Election of R. B. Hayes decided by the Eight to Seven vote of the Jus- 
tices of the U. S. Supreme Court. — He ratifies the Autonomy of the 
States by the withdrawal of U. S. Troops from the South. — Why I 

HAVE HAD TO WRITE THESE MEMOIRS MYSELF. — LETTER FROM HON. JAMES 

G. Blaine. — Letter from Henry A. Homes, of Albany, N. Y. — Let- 
ter of Gen. John W. Gordon. — Democratic Appreciation. — Reform 
and Despotism. — I address the Kentucky Historical Society at 
Frankfort. — My Speech on the Currency, 517 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

Democratic Nihilism. — Assassination of Adam Butner. — A fraudulent 
Election. — Assassination of Thomas Peyton by Blacks evidently 
employed by " ku-klux." — but one witness to a tragedy.— a false 
Friend robs me of $10,000. — I am sold out, but eventually triumph 
over my enemies. — mrs. clay leaves me in russia. — my eldest son, 
Green Clay, as a Union Soldier. — He is dispossessed of his home by 
his Mother. — I announce to him my intention to apply for a Di- 
vorce. — Shocked, he tries to dissuade me. — I give him my reasons, 
cogent and ample. — There being no legal opposition, the Divorce 
is granted. — Letters from sons, and daughter Mary. — Life and 
Death of a Christian. — Letter from my daughter-in-law, Cornelia 
W. Clay. — A disagreeable subject sufficiently explained, . . . 531 



CONTENTS. 



XIII 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

PAGE 

Literature, Ancient and Modern. — Opinion of the works of Shakspeare. 
Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey." — Modern History and Fiction. — 
Newspaper Literature. — Solitary and lonely in life, I send for 
and adopt a Son. — Launey Clay. — My treatment by successful Re- 
publican place-men. — C. M. Clay and Elizabeth de Sozia Wood. — I 

AM PLUNDERED ALIKE BY WHITES AND BLACKS. — My BLACK ATTENDANTS 
STARVE, AND ATTEMPT THE MURDER OF MY ADOPTED SON, . . . 550 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

i stand on the eternal laws of self-defense. — arming myself, i start 
on a hunt for new servants. — death of perry white.— berea. — 
John Gregg Fee. — The Higher Law Controversy. — " Expediency." 
My Estimate of John G. Fee. — The Equality of the Races. — Let- 
ters from John G. Fee. — Letter from W. C. Bryant. — From Hannibal 
Hamlin. — Edmund Quincy. — John A. Andrew. — Archibald Alison. — 
Edward Everett. — Thomas W. Evans. — S. C. Pomeroy. — Wendell 
Phillips. — Joshua R. Geddings. — Caleb B. Smith. — Horace Greeley. 
Wm. H. Seward. — T. Buchanan Read. — George Bancroft. — Eugene 
Schuyler. — Gerrit Smith. — E. B. Washburne. — James S. Rollins. — 
Charles A. Dana. — T. F. Bayard. — A. G. Thurman. — My Eulogy 
on Wendell Phillips. — Race and the "Solid South." — Reflections 
on Social Equality, and destiny of the Black Race. — End of Vol. I., 566 



LIST OF ENGRAVINGS. 



VOLUME I. 



Portrait of Cassius M. Clay, ........ 

View of White Hall, Homestead of the Author, .... 

Portrait of Gen. Green Clay, ....... 

Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, 
1861-1865, 

Full-length portrait of His Majesty Alexander II., late Emperor 
of Russia, ......... 

Full-length portrait of Her Majesty Marie, Empress of Alexan- 
der II. of Russia, ....... 

Portrait of Prince Alexander Gortchacow, late Chancellor of 
Russia, ........•■ 



to J 


r (fi\- title page. 


i i 


" page 18 


(t 


44 


" 


" 304 


" 


" 336 


" 


" 436 


« 


" 442 



THE LIFE OF 



CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



i5 



MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

OF 

CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



CHAPTER I 



Early Years. — The Clay Family. — My Home. — First Fight. — My Mother. — 
Fight against Odds. — Boyhood. — School-mates. — My Father. — Youth. — 
Educational Career. — Slavery. — Mary. — Sidney Payne Clay. — Hen- 
dricks' Boy Joe. — The Iron Collar. — Fight with George. — Education 
continued. — Journey t</ Cincinnati. — Adventure with Birdseye. — 
"Never tell any one your Business." — Education continued. — St. 
Joseph's College, Bardstown. — Fight at St. Joseph's. — Fellow-students. 



I' WAS born in Madison County, Kentucky, United States 
of America, October 19, 18 10, on the uplands of Tate's 
and Jack's creeks, near the Kentucky River. My mother, 
Sally Lewis Clay, was the daughter of Eliza and Thomas 
Lewis, descended from Scotch and English ancestors — 
Douglas being a family name to this day. My grand- 
parents had a large family of sons and daughters, of fine 
minds and physique. One of my aunts married James 
Garrard, Governor of Kentucky, and another John T. 
Johnson, long time member of Congress, and the nephew 
of Richard M. Johnson, Vice-President of the United 
States. My great-grandfather, Edward Payne, was a 
contemporary of George Washington, and is honorably 
named by Mr. Weems, in his life of the Father of his 
Country. My grand-parents were born in Virginia; and 
lived at the large spring, about four miles north-west from 
Lexington, Kentucky, till their death. My father, Green 
Clay, was born in Powhattan County, Virginia, August 14, 
1757, and died October 31, 1826. 

Vol I.— 2 17 



1 8 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

My uncle, Ezekiel Clay, was an Episcopalian clergy- 
man ; and uncle Matthew Clay was the contemporary of 
Thomas Jefferson, often a member of Congress, and his 
friend. Matthew was a man of fine person, and quite 
noted for his prowess, in the old times, when the old- 
fashioned knock-down was deemed more honorable than 
the pistol and Bowie-knife. One of his daughters was 
distinguished for her beauty, and perished in the burned 
theatre of Richmond, Virginia, which at the time created 
a national sensation. 

My grandfather was named Charles, his father Henry, 
and his father again Charles, who, with his two brothers, 
Henry and Thomas, came to America in "the times of 
Queen Elizabeth, with Sir Walter Raleigh, and remained 
here, each having received ^10,000 from their father, Sir 
John Clay, of Wales." So says Porter Clay, the half- 
brother of Henry Clay, in 1848. But I believe I have the 
only reliable record of the Clay family extant. It is written 
on blank leaves in the "Works of Samuel Johnson, Lon- 
don, 1713." The oldest ancestor recorded is Charles 
Clay — no birth-date given.* 

*"THE CLAY FAMILY." 

An old letter, written in 1848, by the Rev. Porter Clay — then 
preaching at Alton, Illinois — gives the following facts in regard to 
the origin of the Clay family: 

LETTER IN SAMUEL JOHNSON'S BOOK. 

"Your wishes to know something about the history of our family could not be 
gratified in the limits of a letter. The following concise account must suffice. In 
the reign of Queen Elizabeth, .... Sir Walter Raleigh brought over to 
the Virginia plantations, among others, three brothers, sons of Sir John Clay, of 

Wales, England. He gave them ^10,000 each They were named 

Charles, Thomas, and Henry. They settled on James River, near Jamestown. 

Charles and Thomas had large families. Henry had none; but the name has been 

handed down with great tenacity in both families ever since. Cassius M. Clay 

is a descendant of Charles Clay; Henry and myself from Thomas Clay." 

Porter and Henry Clay were the sons of John Clay, no doubt 
named after the first John known of our family. I believe our 
families unite in my great-grandfather, Henry Clay, son of Charles, 
son of John, of Wales. 

My "Speeches and Writings," edited by Horace Greeley, and 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



19 



My next ancestor, Henry Clay, oldest son of Charles 
and Mary Mitchell, was born in 1672. The other de- 
scending line is all regular, down to my own birth. It is 
evident that the Rev. Porter Clay speaks from tradition. 
At what time Henry Clay, the orator and statesman, enters 
this family-tree is not known. His father was John Clay, 
and that is all I know about it. He always called me 
"Cousin Cash." Porter Clay says I descended from 
Charles, of the three brothers. My family were remark- 
ably long-lived — Henry dying in his eighty-ninth year, 
and my mother in her ninetieth year. I take but little 
interest in these antecedents; but I can not but be a little 
proud that I, through my mother and my Douglas blood, 
can claim to be of the same race as that Gordon who is 
now the noblest figure in our times. 

I write in the house in which I was born. It is a well- 
burned brick structure, with heavy range work of Ken- 
tucky marble and grey limestone, and of the Grecian style, 
having three porticos of imperfect Corinthian and Doric 
columns. It was added to after 1861 ; but the old build- 
ing, after the English manner, was preserved almost in- 
tact. Even at that day, though there were many home- 
steads, the original forests in near proximity to the man- 
sion were almost unbroken by the axe. The tulip, walnut, 
ash, Kentucky coffee-bean, beech, and other magnificent 
trees, rose at places to sixty feet without a limb, with 
native vines carried up with their growth perhaps centu- 
ries old. The surface, ever undulating, was clothed in 
the ravines with the native cane, twelve feet or more 
high, as seemingly impenetrable as an East India jungle. 
But most of the surface under the trees was bare, and 
brown with fallen leaves the year round, covered with 
exquisite wild flowers in summer, and steady light snows 
in winter. The plum, the black haw, the May-apple, the 

published by Harper Brothers, New York, 1848, has grave errors — 
as the manuscript proof was never revised by me — which are here 
corrected. C. 1885. 



20 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

paw-paw, fhe persimmon, the hickory, the walnut, hack- 
berries, and wild grapes were found in profusion. The 
rivulets, in almost every ravine, were ever fresh and per- 
ennial from the vast reservoir of the forest humus ; and 
fish were found in the very springs, as they bubbled up 
in never-ceasing music ; whilst birds of every color and 
song, the chattering squirrel, and the scream of the hawk, 
made all nature harmonious in its full development. 

Our family is the first of the human race, so far as 
we know, that ever claimed fee simple in this soil, as my 
father was the first white man that ever, by pre-occupation 
and culture, and civic title, claimed ownership ; the natives 
never having assumed proprietary rights in the "Dark 
and Bloody Ground," which was the common hunting place 
of all the tribes of the now surrounding States. 

It is curious how far back the memory will reach ; and 
I remember, as yesterday, the brilliant buttons and plumes 
of the Kentucky Volunteers whom my father led, as com- 
mander-in-chief, to the relief of Fort Meigs, in Ohio, in 
1813, then besieged by the British under Proctor, and the 
Indians under Tecumseh. General William Henry Har- 
rison was the Federal commander of all the regular 
forces and the volunteer militia. 

As my physical courage and training greatly aided the 
higher moral courage which my political life demanded, I 
have concluded to give an account of all my personal en- 
counters from boyhood. I am a believer in bloods, not in 
the sense of aristocratic or plebeian bloods, but in natural 
organization : so moral or physical traits are aggregated in 
families. The first hewn log-house in the county was built 
by my father ; arid, when the family moved into the brick 
mansion, which was also the first of that class, the over- 
seer, Covington, dwelt in the old house in the border of 
the yard. 

It was with Covington's son that I had the first fight. 
I don't remember the cause of the quarrel, but I mastered 
him, and gave him a terribly-scratched face. His mother 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 21 

complained to mine, and, when I came to the house, she, 
following Solomon's advice, had ready a peach-tree "rod," 
and I bear testimony that she did not "spare" it. 

At another time, 'tis said, I told a "story" — as the lie 
is thus often charitably clothed in velvet vestments. She 
ordered me sternly to come to her; but, as I had once 
tested her mettle, I was more inclined to take, as Gobbo, 
"to my heels," and I ran. She was not a woman to be 
trifled with ; and was not one of those sentimental creat- 
ures who sit all day with a recalcitrant, "toddling thing," 
lecturing it upon the reasons why it should obey the 
mother, and not the mother obey the child. So she made 
chase ; and all the house-servants, and all the kitchen- 
servants joined in the pursuit. Finding that I would be 
overtaken, I concluded to fight. There was a pile of 
stone-siftings, left over from an out-building of consider- 
able size, upon which I took my stand, and made things 
lively — throwing never in sham, firing no blank cartridges, 
hitting hard. For, as I had been whipped for fighting, now 
I fought not to be whipped. So the dear old mother had 
to come herself. Thank God, I never in childhood even 
raised my hand or turned my heart against her. So I sur- 
rendered. This was my second whipping, and the last; 
for when I found escape neither in running nor in fight- 
ing, I ever after submitted with sublime philosophy to the 
inevitable. 

My mother was a Calvinist in faith, and, though not be- 
lieving in good works as the ground of salvation, yet was 
the most Christian-like and pious of women in every word 
and thought. With her, truth was the basis of all moral 
character. She would not tolerate even conventional lies, 
never saying, "Not at home" to callers; but, to the serv- 
ants, " Beg- them to excuse me." And was she not right? 
Let the wisdom of all ages decide. This it was, when I 
was asked, in order to corner me, if slavery was not a 
good and Christian institution? — considering all the con- 



2 2 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

sequences, remembering her who had given me life and 
principles to live or die by — that led me to answer No! 

My father was a stern man, absorbed in affairs. He 
spent but little time with the children, and did not assume 
control. Yet he directed, in the main, what was to be 
done; and, when the time had come, he sent me to school 
with my next older brother, Brutus J. Clay, much to the 
regret, it seemed to me, of my mother ; for I was the Ben- 
jamin of the family. Through the forest then, over rivu- 
lets, flushing the birds, cropping the wild flowers, gather- 
ing the May-apples, with book-satchel slung over my 
shoulders, and the lunch-basket carried by turns with my 
brother, I set out. At length, in less than a mile, we 
came to the common school — a log cabin unchinked — 
under a beech forest, near the spring and rivulets which 
meet near by, forming Tate's creek. The stones of the 
chimney yet lie there, half covered with blue-grass, but the 
trees are gone ! 

But chimnies were of little use, as it was mostly in 
summer that the children from families far apart went to 
school. I well remember the great pleasure with which, 
in childhood, I took off the hated shoes and socks, and 
waded barefooted in the rain-puddles and rivulets. The 
large scholars were held to their books ; but, laying mine 
down on one of the rude benches, I went into the water 
running over the bright pebbles, and amused myself by 
catching the small minnows, which, at this season, swarmed 
upon the clear shallows. So I was employed day after 
day ; and the good mother again and again filled the 
lunch-basket with nice things, and topped them off with 
the ABC mystery. The neighboring girls were also in 
primitive stockings, and were not averse from wading also 
in the cool waters at play-time, and hunting and digging 
the wild turkey-peas and ginseng. 

In this near association I had fallen in love! — Platonic, 

f course. There was a nearly-grown girl named C. B — n, 

mid another called R. C — s. Now, when the dominie saw 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 23 

the bad example I was setting, he determined to reduce me 
to submission ; so, when I set out, as usual, for the branch, 
and I not obeying, he followed me, as did all the school. 
But, taking in the situation, as the teacher was the only 
one who had on shoes, I took position in the deepest pool, 
where he could not reach me with his long beech-rod, and, 
as the girls happened to be the largest, he ordered Miss 
C — s to bring me out. But, as she advanced, I seized a 
stone and struck her with great violence, nearly severing 
her big toe from the foot. In the confusion, I was forgot- 
ten; and, C. B — n coming to me, begged me to come out, 
which I at once did ; and without ceremony set out for 
home. Now, was I not in love? 

Some structures are like a wooden log, you can't get a 
responsive sound with a hammer; whilst others are so 
finely strung, like the famous Cremonas, that the slightest 
wave of air will wake them into melody. Yes, I was in 
love ! This broke up the school-business ; and my mother, 
being told of the tragedy, was about to flog me once more, 
but my father assumed command, and I was dismissed 
(with a suppressed smile) to my usual quarters. 

Such was my early life, and it leaves the question yet 
undecided : are the tendencies of our life from nature, 
or from education? Or, rather, are they not from both? 
At all events, the mother, being both parent and teacher, 
mostly forms the character. But I leave this an open 
question for others to decide ; as many will, no doubt, with 
M. C. J., of Lexington, Kentucky, hold that "God Al- 
mighty made the noble and the ignoble of the same clay;" 
but was sure "the first class was made out of the fine 
clay, whilst the second was made of the gravel and refuse 
which remained." 

So far as memory goes, the most of my youth seems 
but as a dark night, with here and there a light set ; so 
there remains but a few events. I saw but little of my 
father; he was nearly always absent, and when at home 
was engaged in business. But one incident reminds me 



24 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

how much those who rule children should remember that 
example is more potent than precept. My father had an 
old Virginia military wine-chest, holding about a half 
dozen cups or glasses, and as many bottles of liquors, 
mostly of domestic make. These bottles were English, 
square, of very thin glass, and very finely inlaid with 
gold-leaf. To prevent the breakage by awkward serv- 
ants, he would not allow any one but himself to touch 
them. But, in the morning, having a bottle of native 
" Bourbon," filled with camomile-flowers, which, being bit- 
ter, were used very generally as a tonic before breakfast, 
he would take out the bottle, fill his mouth with the 
hateful liquid, and, having swallowed it, make a rueful 
face at the boys ; but he would drink no more that day. 
He never would allow us to use cards or taste liquor. 

I watched him a long time, not having it clear to my 
mind that if it was good for papa, it was not good 
for us. At length, one morning, when he had made his 
usual libation, and discharged a painful duty with heroism, 
as shown by his countenance of silent suffering, I thought 
to myself, now, if it is so bitter, why do you take it? So 
I '11 see. And, taking up the bottle, and pouring out a 
portion, I found it very far from bitter; though, fortunately 
for me, the Bourbon itself was not fascinating, but the 
bitter was all gone, and the camomile was but a sham. 

Having gone to four common (voluntary) schools, as 
before described, and then to the Richmond Academy, our 
father sent Brutus J. and myself to the home of Joshua 
Fry, a celebrated teacher, who, having made a fortune, 
still, by the force of habit — living on a fine farm on the 
banks of Dix River, in Garrard County, Kentucky — 
taught a few scholars and his grand-children for his 
amusement. Whilst there, among others who reached 
distinction in the world, was the Congressman, W. J. 
Graves who killed Cilley, in the celebrated duel between 
the champions of the North and the South. Mr. Fry was 
a teacher of Latin as a specialty. Among the scholars 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 25 

was a beautiful young girl of about my own age, L. F ; 

and as, in the first joint education of the sexes, there was 
war, so now, by the occurrence of contrasts, there was 
peace. She inspired me to rivalry and study, and I 
soon surpassed her, and mastered the Latin language as 
I never did any other language; and, although my after 
life never allowed me much leisure for its use, I am a 
good Latinist to this day. Never having studied English 
Grammar at all, at any time, I think I would hardly be 
classified, in that respect, with Burns's scholars in regard 
to my own tongue: — "What's 'a the learning of the 
schools?" etc. Yet my readers will judge. 

In the meantime, my father being the largest slave- 
owner in the State, I early began to study the system, 
or, rather, began to feel its wrongs. Whilst I was yet 
a boy, my sister Eliza being very fond of flowers and 
their culture, I had my miniature garden also ; with great 
delight living close to nature, and feeling that serenity 
and passive happiness which she always lavishes upon 
those who love her. One day, whilst absorbed in my 
favorite pastime, I heard a scream, and, looking up, 
what was my horror to see Mary coming into the yard 
with a butcher's knife, and her clothes all bloody! All 
the servants, from every cabin, big and little, ran wildly 
around in tears, with exclamations of grief and terror. 

Who was Mary? A handsome mulatto girl, of about 
eighteen years of age, who had been engaged years ago 
as one of the flower-gardeners. She was a fine speci- 
men of a mixed breed, rather light colored, showing the 
blood in her cheeks, with hair wavy, as in the case with 
mixed whites and blacks. Her features were finely cut, 
quite Caucasian ; whilst her eyes were large, black, lan- 
guid, and unconscious, except when some passion stirred 
the fires of her African blood, when they flashed as the 
lightning through a cloud. It was Mary who had assisted 
in laying out my garden. A peach-tree, then planted 



26 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

by me, was in full bearing long after I was married, 
being more than a foot in diameter. 

After some years she was sent to the house of an 
overseer, at one of the separate plantations, to cook for 
the whites, the "hands" and the overseer, his wife, and two 
or three grown daughters. Mary was very bloody, but 
not hurt. Payne, for that was his name, was a drunkard ; 
and, returning home after sprees, made it his custom to 
abuse Mary by words, which was not submitted to in those 
days by any slaves, when coming from "poor white trash," 
as they called the non-slave-holders ; and so she in turn 
used a woman's tongue in such a way as to arouse the 
anger of the whole family. Mary was sent into the kitchen 
or elsewhere, whilst the family, having made all preparations 
to bar up the doors, prepared to punish the woman severely, 
and, as the jury afterward decided, to kill her. They called 
her in, and sent her up stairs to shell the seed-corn for 
planting. All the field-hands were out at work. But Mary, 
suspecting mischief, knowing Payne's temper, secreted a 
butcher's knife in her bosom, and went sullenly to her work. 
As she anticipated, they soon came up and all attacked her. 
She attempted to run down stairs, and out of the house ; 
but, finding the door securely fastened, she turned upon 
them and slew Payne, and at length succeeded in making 
her escape. She came home to the family. The whole 
community was in arms, and Mary taken to jail in a few 
hours. But my father being a man of fortune, and a "long 
head," Mary was finally acquitted and set free. 

Sidney Payne Clay, our oldest brother, who had been 
educated at Princeton College, New Jersey, and had re- 
turned home, was an emancipationist as well as a Presby- 
terian. By my father's will he was appointed chief ex- 
ecutor. As was the custom in all the border slave States, 
Mary was, by his will, ordered to be sent South, I suppose 
to make murder odious. Now, the most astonishing feature 
of the slave-system was the delusion that, as it was legal, 
it was morally right ; whilst all the sentiments of the soul 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 2J 

and the force of the mind proclaimed it wrong. For "the 
greatest of all rights," said the eloquent Robert J. Breckin- 
ridge, "is the right of a man to himself." This docjrine, 
joined to some passing remarks in the Bible, written in an 
age when slavery was the result of a common barbarism, 
confused the strongest intellect, and led to the most con- 
flicting results. Never shall I forget — and through all 
these years it rests upon the memory as the stamp upon 
a bright coin — the scene, when Mary was tied by the 
wrists and sent from home and friends, and the loved 
features of her native land — the* home of her infancy and 
girlish days — into Southern banishment forever; and yet 
held guiltless by a jury of, not her "peers," but her op- 
pressors! Never shall I forget those two faces — of my 
brother and Mary — the oppressor and the oppressed, rigid 
with equal agony! She cast an imploring look at me, as 
if in appeal; but meekly went, without a word, as "a sheep 
to the slaughter." 

One more tale of the "Lost Cause," and I close this 
sad record. About 1 8 10-15, my father, having succeeded 
in a land-suit against a neighbor named Hendricks, the 
angry master sent his slave Joe to burn our dwelling ; but 
Joe, driven back by the watch-dogs, went to a large barn 
filled with hay and grain and set fire to that, in the hope 
of averting the anger of his master, which he had too much 
reason to dread. The barn made such a light that the poor 
fellow was terrified, and stood looking wildly at the flames, 
when he was seen and caught. On being questioned, he 
confessed the whole story. Now, by the laws of the " Lost 
Cause," in no crime against the master could a slave be a 
witness. But the public opinion was all the same. Hen- 
dricks and sons, having put an iron collar on Joe with a 
bell, and moving to the banks of Station-Camp Creek, in 
now Estill County, then a remote and sparsely populated 
country, are said to have whipped Joe three successive 
days; and ^finally, when he died under the -lash, they tied 
a large stone to his neck, and sank him in that deep 



26 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

stream. But the stone, heavy enough to sink the fresh 
body, was too light when the gases of decomposition were 
generated, and Joe's mortal remains arose to the surface, 
and revealed the secrets of the prison-house to the world. 
But what of that? Slavery, like necessity, knows no law. 
But the Hendricks' family were driven, by the irrepressible 
instincts of the human soul, into exile ; and they went West, 
where the memory of the crime and the criminal was lost. 

In early times, the use of an iron collar was to prevent 
the slave from running off. The collar on Joe had a bell 
on it, so that every one could see or hear it ; and, the col- 
lar being riveted on at a smith's shop, could not be taken 
from the runaway's neck without great danger of discovery. 
Nothing shows the degradation of the "Lost Cause" more 
than this custom, which was generally abandoned before 
my time. Yet in Lexington, in 1845, whilst I edited the 
True American, hearing one night some disturbance in my 
hen-house, I seized my pistol, and went out to see the 
cause. To my surprise, a negro man had both hands full 
of chickens. He belonged to a "mild-mannered man" of 
my acquaintance, who ran a hemp factory. The man said, 
in reply to my questions, that he was poorly fed, and 
that he ought to help himself to better fare. I told him, 
with some indignation, that he ought not to come to me, 
who was the friend of his race, to rob. To which he re- 
plied : "Mars' Cash, I did not think you would hurt me." 
This reasoning was not at all satisfactory ; but the low 
moon cast a few rays through the trees, and I saw the 
bright prongs of a steel collar as long, on each side of his 
neck, as the horns of a Texas steer. My rage, which was 
at first almost deadly — standing with pistol in hand — was 
turned into pity ; and I let the poor fellow go with all the 
chickens. Was I not also politically guilty ? This nerved 
me to a more deadly warfare against the " Lost Cause." 

When I was yet a boy, I had a playmate of about my 
own age — a fine fellow, as straight as an Indian, and as 
black as a crow, with large dark eyes, and large whites 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 29 

around them. He was bigger than myself, and not want- 
ing in courage — the black race is not so wanting. The 
hands and other members of the body are moved through 
the nerves by the central seat of intelligence — the brain. 
Now, it takes time for the will to communicate with the 
hands and feet. In a fight, time is not everything, but it 
is a great factor. In the negro race this nervous move- 
ment is slower than in the white; in other words, the in- 
tellect and body are quicker in the white races. Hence 
the French, when other things are equal, are the first fight- 
ing people among the nations. 

But other qualities, as heroism, fortitude, and all that, 
enter into the battles of nations; and in these last I think 
the English, Germans and Russians are superior to the 
French, whilst the Americans have all the best qualities 
of the English, with more intellectual quickness. So we 
have nothing to fear in battle with any nation. Now, as 
early in life as my fight with George, I began to appreciate 
the situation. I offended George, who said: "Mars' Cash', 
you would not treat me so, if you had not marster and 
mistress to back you." "Well," said I, "George, I can 
whip you myself." "If you won't tell, we'll see." "All 
right," said I. Now, the forests on one side of our yard 
were unbroken. My father allowed no one to touch them. 
So George and I went alone into the near woods ; and, as 
the boughs hung low near the light, were soon out of sight 
of all the family, white and black. I was, of course, ex- 
cited, and in the lead. George was evidently my over- 
match in size and strength, so I thought of stratagem. I 
selected the ground. The grey limestone, fine for build- 
ing, lies near the surface. Here was a steep descent to- 
ward the Kentucky River, and the stone being taken out 
in horizontal layers, left a nice level bench, now covered 
with moss and dry leaves. So I took my place near the 
declension, leaving space for George to take his stand on 
the level land, with my face toward the ravine. Striking 
George the first blow, I sent him staggering down the hill; 



30 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

and then advancing to the very edge of the plat, I was 
taller than he, and had all advantages, as he had to labor 
up the hill when struck, and I had time to blow. Of 
course, I was triumphant, and George asked for quarters, 
and admitted himself beaten. We ever kept our secret. 
George never saw the unfairness of my position ; nor was 
I bound to advise him, because I considered that if I gave 
him a fair use of his mind and body, it was a fair fight ; 
and it was, in the broadest sense. The Democrats and 
the Republicans may both study this episode with advan- 
tage, in running the Republic with so large a black popu- 
lation. This fight with an African was one of those instru- 
mental influences by which Deity shapes the ends of life. 
George's courage won my respect, and his sad expression 
of defeat excited my sympathy ; for he had one of those 
faces which in the blacks at times are so expressive of all 
the sentiments ; and which, yet unmarked by crime, and 
undegraded by conscious servitude, at times so interest the 
observer. I had settled the question of personal supremacy 
with George ; but back of that remained that great problem 
of my life : why should master and mistress claim the power 
of appeal and redecision? Let the advocates of the "Lost 
Cause" answer. 

These incidents are as fresh on my mind as if they were 
of yesterday. On this plateau, in the deep shade, was built 
a cabin in which the freedmen of my father only dwelt. The 
log hut has perished, but the ruins of the stone-chimney re- 
main ; and the ledge is yet marked by a magnificent oak. 
The appeal of George was to a higher court than my parents 
filled, and thg omnipotent God decided in his favor. Infini- 
tesimal and obscure, he was still one of the factors in human 
progress, and his battle in reality was not "lost!" Thus, 
as in the Cosmos, every ounce of matter forms the attrac- 
tion of the whole, so every truth and every noble aspiration 
make the sum of the moral and intellectual world, on which 
the happiness of mankind depends. 

The farm of Joshua Fry, as I said, came to the very 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 3 1 

banks of Dix River. In places on this peculiar stream there 
are no hills. In early times the limestone rock seems to 
have been cleft asunder, allowing the waters from above to 
pass on, and in time wearing a deep channel through solid 
rock banks, with very narrow alluvial bottoms first on one 
side and then on the other, as the turns of the river left the 
deposit of the reduced strata. Occasionally a great bowlder 
of limestone was precipitated into the rushing stream, causing 
deep eddies, where the bass, perch and other varieties of 
fish found secure shelter and feeding-grounds. Never was 
there a finer display of nature, on a scale not grand as 
some, but as picturesque as any to be found. The trees 
overhung the jutting cliffs ; flowers and vines covered all 
surfaces ; and fish could be seen, as well as caught, ever 
gambolling on the crystal riffles, and in the rock-bound 
depths of the river. The red birds and many-colored 
orioles and thrushes were in great numbers, as well as 
many other birds of brilliant plumage and melodious song. 
Here I alone spent most of my leisure hours, fishing and 
enjoying the loveliness of nature. I deem it fortunate in 
my life that I was thrown so often in close contact with 
mother earth, from whom we gain not only pleasure but 
strength. For here the body and soul are made robust 
for the great trials of life ; and an apt fable was it that 
made the giants of old the children of the earth, who, 
when thrown down, arose again with new force for the 
combat. Hence come the great characters of history ; and 
from here the perishing cities renew their population. 

When I was about twelve or thirteen years of age, 
during a school vacation, my father sent me to Cincinnati, 
Ohio, to pay taxes upon some lands which he owned in 
that State. This city was about one hundred miles away ; 
with no railroads then, nor stage-routes even. The only 
means of travel was on horseback ; and along the ridge- 
road, as it was called, there were inns, where travellers 
were entertained. Being fully equipped with saddle-bags, 
and with my money sewed up in some part of my clothing, 



$2 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

with only enough left accessible to pay way-expenses, I set 
out with a rather heavy heart. In those times, when city 
robberies were little known, desperadoes, driven by crime 
from the East, took refuge on the frontiers of civilization, 
and committed frequent assaults upon travelers, and appro- 
priated their money. These were not pleasant memories 
to me ; but, as I entered the sparsely-settled forests, full 
of birds and squirrels, and occasional wild fruits, as plums 
and grapes, I began to feel more at home, and, on the 
whole, enjoyed my journey. I traveled about thirty miles 
a day, and reached Cincinnati on the third day, in the late 
afternoon. About 1812 Fulton introduced steam-boats on 
the Ohio; but at this time, about 1823, the flat-boats and 
barges were the main means of commerce, and a few hind- 
wheel steamboats made the trips at long intervals up the 
river to Wheeling and Pittsburg, and down to New Orleans. 
I don 't remember any houses where Covington and New- 
port now are ; and Cincinnati hardly reached above Second 
Street, parallel with the Ohio River. The principal build- 
ings were on the street perpendicular to the upper river- 
wharf, on the right of which was the hotel. There were 
few brick buildings, and on Second and Third Streets the 
houses were low and scattering, with small yards in front. 
Having taken my supper, I came down into the sitting- 
room, in which at those times was also the liquor-bar. 
Here men assembled around a huge coal fire, a . mixed 
mass of travelers and boatmen from all the river-crafts 
spending the Sunday evening. One rather sinister-looking 
man, with small, sharp grey eyes, and high Roman nose, 
drew up his chair, and began to question me about my 
journey, whence I came and where I was going. With 
some reticence I told him the main facts. He then invited 
me to go with him to church, to which I assented, inquiring 
his name. He told me it was " Birdseye." This was a 
curious and unknown name to me, and at once excited my 
suspicions about his character, as it seemed assumed. How- 
ever, I went with him to church. I watched him during the 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 33 

ceremonies slyly, and found he showed no reverence what- 
ever, looking about him and the audience. As we returned, 
he stopped opposite a small framed house, rather, isolated, 
with two rooms. Without ceremony, he said he wished to 
see a friend a moment on business, and would go on with 
me in a minute, and invited me in. I went in. There was 
no light in the first room, and in the second was a dim dip- 
candle burning, and a man, whom my friend asked out into 
the back-yard. My suspicions were aroused. I was to be 
robbed, and perhaps murdered. Why should they go out 
of the house to talk? So I at once passed out into the 
street, with a steady march for my hotel. My friend over- 
took me at a few paces from the door, and continued his 
walk with me, nothing being said by either party in expla- 
nation. In the meantime, I had taken out my pocket-knife, 
opened the largest blade, and put it up my sleeve, keeping 
my friend on my side, and never allowing him to fall behind 
me. As he passed a small alley, he said, suiting the action 
to the word, and turning in himself: "This way is the near- 
est route to the hotel." There were but few lights shining 
from the houses, and most of the church-goers and citizens 
had disappeared from the streets. Now, I was raised in 
the woods, and was well posted as to place; and I knew 
that, so far from that route being nearest, it led me into the 
street parallel to the one where I had lodged, and that I 
would have to go to the river-wharf and then turn up to 
my quarters. So, paying no attention to his words or his 
actions, I went steadily on, and arrived with safety at my 
hotel. I sat some time awaiting the foiled Birdseye, but he 
came no more.' Now his object, no doubt, was to rob, if 
not to murder me — take my money, and go aboard the 
river-craft, and escape. This was a lesson to me through 
life, and I refused ever to go about in cities with strangers. 
And though I have traveled much in the world, I never was 
robbed of a cent, though many vain attempts have been 
made to pick my pockets. I paid the taxes and returned 
home in safety, allowing no horsemen to be long with me 
Vol. I.— 3 



34 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

on the road, either going forward or falling back, till I was 
alone. And I then felt how wise was my father's apothegm : 
"Never tell any one your business." This trip was evi- 
dently intended by my father as a school of self-reliance, and 
he was careful at all times to teach me such lessons, includ- 
ing occasional manual labor. 

From Garrard County we followed Mr. Fry to Danville 
College, where he continued to teach Latin under President 
Murray; and, still further, to the house of his son Thomas, 
in the same county. We had a pleasant time in this old 
Virginia family, with a large house and farm, and with the 
noted spring, wherein suckers could be seen in ten-foot 
water — studying by day, and dancing with the girls at night. 
Thomas, the host, was a jolly fellow, fond of tobacco and * 
jokes, and played the violin whilst we danced. This was the 
father of General John Speed Smith Fry, who killed Gen- 
. eral ZollicorTer in the civil war. At length, having com- 
pleted our Latin, with some other branches of learning, my 
brother, Brutus J., went into business as a farmer and stock- 
raiser. He was noted as the best farmer in the State — was 
President of the State Agricultural Fair of Kentucky, thirty 
years President of the Bourbon Fair Association, and once 
a member of the Congress of the United States as a Union- 
ist ; but, when Kentucky was treated in bad faith by the 
Republicans overthrowing slavery, without compensation, al- 
though pledged against such illegal action, he joined the 
Democratic party, and there remained till his death, in his 
seventy-third year. He accumulated a large estate, left a 
large family, having been twice married, and was much like 
my father in ability and habits. 

I was now sent to the Jesuit College of St. Joseph, in 
Nelson County, Kentucky, to study French under Priest 
Fouche, a native Frenchman. I boarded with the father of 
the President of the college, William Elder, in a beautiful 
grove of beech trees and shrubbery, in which the white cot- 
tage was built ; and where I enjoyed the advantages of the 
conversation of some French-Catholic students from Louisi- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 35 

ana. At length I joined the students in the college, and 
there boarded. Here I had my next fight; for the only time 
in my life acting on the offensive. 

By the laws of the college, a priest was always with the 
students to keep order in and out of class hours. About 
the largest boy was a Kentuckian named T — r, who was 
ever annoying the small boys, and then handling them 
roughly, till he got to be thoroughly hated by all — going 
far enough to be offensive, he yet stopped short of absolute 
violation of the rules and liability to punishment by the 
teachers. One day, when we were all playing in the class- 
room, and the supervising priest being out of doors some- 
what, T — r began his usual role of Hector. I had observed 
him a long time. I had ever been devoted to athletic 
sports — riding on horse-back, boxing, hunting, fishing, gun- 
ning, jumping, scuffling, wrestling, playing base-ball, bandy, 
foot-ball, and all that — so I had some confidence in my 
prowess. 1 was then in my thirteenth year. So, as T — r 
was torturing a small boy, who began to cry, being too 
small to reach him, I sprang upon a bench, and hit him a 
stinging blow upon the nose, which caused the blood to fly 
in all directions. He was taken by surprise, and was utterly 
confounded. The priest, who had heard the noise, looked 
in, and, taking in the situation, went out again, glad to see 
T — r punished, and affected to be ignorant of any cause of 
offence. This cured T — r of his evil ways, and made me 
quite a hero in the eyes of the little fellows. 

The next year, 1824, Henry Clay, my remote relative, 
whose anti-slavery views I had partially known, was then 
Secretary of State under John Quincy Adams. I ventured 
to write him a letter, to which he replied in his characteistic 
careful style of hand-writing. This was my first letter from 
him, before I had ever seen him. Unhappily this letter, 
with almost my whole correspondence up to the year 1861, 
was burned during the war, with my study — the old hewed 
log-house homestead — where I had carelessly left them 
on going to Russia. 



36 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

I had a very pleasant time at the Jesuit College of St. 
Joseph, studying only French. I had much leisure,' and 
spent much time in fishing on the Beech Fork of Salt 
River. Here I learned to eat bull-frogs, of which my 
French playmates were very fond. The banks of the 
river are covered with rushes, and here the frogs were 
found in large numbers. With a cotton sack slung over 
my shoulder, and a native cane-rod of proper length, with 
a short line and fish-hook bated with red-flannel or earth- 
worms, I would find the frogs sitting among the rushes, 
bring the hook near their mouths, when they would catch 
it and get hung. Then I would cut off their hind legs, 
and fill my pouch with them, throwing away all else. 
These legs are quite tender and white-fleshed, like those 
of the gray squirrel, which is a favorite dish in all the 
South and West. We had much fun with the fastidious, 
passing off the frogs for squirrel or chicken legs, till they 
were greedily eaten, and then we informed the gourmands, 
when they felt quite effervescent about the stomach ! Here 
I formed the acquaintance of Rowan and James Hardin, 
and their father Benjamin Hardin ; and also I visited the 
family and knew John Rowan, sr., and his son John; also, 
I formed associations with other families and ladies, among 
others Miss Hardin, who married Governor Helm. Many 
of these persons I met in after-life. 



CHAPTER II. 



My Father, Green Clay.— His Character.— His Apothegms.— His Military 
Career.— His Letter to Capt. M. Harrison.— His treatment of his 
Challenger.— His fondness for the Peaceful, Innocent, and Good.— 
His death. — Why he came to Kentucky.— Transylvania University.— 
Its President and Professors. — Fellow-students. — I visit Washington 
CitY and Baltimore. — President Andrew Jackson. —Estimate of his 

Character. — John C. Calhoun.— Martin Van Buren.— Journey North. 

John Quincy Adams. —George Ticknor. —Daniel Webster. — Prompt to 
keep appointments. 



MY father's fatal illness called me home from Bards- 
town — where I had formed quite an attachment to 
many friends, Catholic and Protestant, and who made me 
ever tolerant in religion — to feel the great woe of his ap- 
proaching death, the greatest of human calamities. 

"Oh, Ada, dealh has come into the world!" 

Has been the cry of all the generations of men. We 
enter the world without our knowledge, and we go out 
unconscious. As the tired child sinks into sleep, so the 
man of old age falls, as a ripe apple, from the bough. 
There can not, as a general thing, be any physical pain 
in death, when the natural law has had sway. It is only 
when anomalous circumstances surround us that the ter- 
rors of the mind and the pains of the body are exhibited. 
On the contrary, many instances are known where men 
have been drowned and restored where pleasure and not 
pain was the true feeling. So men, when frozen to death, 
sink into sweet and willing sleep, and refuse to be restored. 
Agnosticism is one thing, and aggressive infidelity quite 
another thing. I think Ingersoll makes a mistake in his 
propagandism of infidelity. No man has a right, in the 
name of freedom of thought, to pull down even a bad 
system till he is able to build up a better. Much less has 

37 



38 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

he a right to pull down the best religious and moral sys- 
tem evolved from the wisdom of all the ages, without 
building up any other at all ! Let the friends of Christi- 
anity not be disturbed. Ingersoll will die and be forgotten. 
He has thrown no new light upon faith nor morals, much 
less upon the esse of the immortal spark, which is not 
matter, and which, even if it were matter, can not die. 
And who can say that it will, or it will not, assume a 
continual and a regular progression of increased happi- 
ness forever. At all events, we have hope left us, if 
nothing else ; and we may, from the lowest standpoint, 
say, with Burns: 

"Here lies an honest man: if there is another world, he lives in bliss. 
If there is no other world, he made the best of this." 

If the more generic word, a virtuous man, in the larg- 
est sense of the term, was substituted for the more lim- 
ited "honest," this seems to be about the best philoso- 
phy on the whole subject of Futurity, so far as we are at 
present advanced in the direction of the unknown. If the 
Immortality of the Soul can not be proved, it certainly can 
not be disproved; and Ingersoll, standing over the grave 
of his brother, it is said, in this found consolation. 

My father was a Deist ; and for months looked death 
steadily in the face without the tremor of a nerve. I was 
his youngest child, whom he kept mostly with him as 
nurse, and waiting closely on all his wants. He arranged 
all his business and papers with the utmost care, and pa- 
tiently awaited the end. Like Brutus, before the battle 
of Philippi, his mind was but once disturbed — just the 
night before the day of his death. He called me to his 
bedside, and said: "I have just seen death come in at 
that door," pointing in the direction of the family grave- 
yard. Those were his last words. Now, after some ex- 
perience in life; I see no reason for those fictitious tales 
of the horrors of death-beds of illustrious men who are 
called agnostic ; many of whom have been the greatest 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 39 

benefactors of mankind. The leaving all that has known 
us in life, and all that we have known and felt, is death. 
As John Q. Adams said: "This is the last of earth!" 
With all his New England education of Protestantism and 
dogmatic faith, he said all that he could say with knowl- 
edge : "This is the last of earth " — evidently looking back 
at what was to be left, and not to what lay before him in 
the unknown. And this, however deprecated by enthusi- 
asts, is the natural order; and this the "sting" of disso- 
lution. But happily here, as I said before, nature pre- 
pares the way ; and the true philosopher, as well as the 
true Christian, will walk patiently, if not willingly, in it. 

I think I can say impartially, that my father was intel- 
lectually a man of the first order. In whatever he under- 
took, he met with success. His profession was not that 
of the soldier or statesman ; but, when he attempted 
either, he played a very high part. His life was one 
rather of business than anything else ; and here he passed 
all his contemporaries in the West. Those who knew him 
best compared him favorably with Henry Clay; and, had 
all his powers been concentrated in one direction, they 
thought he would have reached equal eminence. And 
these were the opinions of those who were themselves 
eminent, and therefore very competent judges. His grasp 
of a subject was very quick and comprehensive. Hence, 
though good at figures, he said he had never studied 
them but nine months, in which he accomplished as much 
as others in many years. 

By a strange mistake in Horace Greeley's life of my- 
self—the "Life and Writings of C. M. Clay" [N. Y., Har- 
per Bros., 1848,] — he is represented as having only at- 
tended school "nine months," when, in fact, he was as 
well educated as were men generally in Virginia in his 
day. His style was good and correct, his voice very fine; 
• and in his short statements of a subject, in public speech, 
he was quite forcible, and much after the manner of 
Franklin in his generalizations and utterance. He had a 



40 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

thorough knowledge of human nature ; and took very 
practical views of the problem of life. I remember some 
of his homely but terse apothegms, although I was under 
sixteen at his death: "Never tell any one your business." 
" Enquire of fools and children, if you wish to get at the 
truth." This, of course, referred to ordinary events, and 
is very true ; for they have no motives for concealing 
what they know. "In traveling in dangerous times, never 
return by the same road." In his day, highway robbery 
on the frontiers was a common thing. "Never set your 
name on the right-hand side of the writing." This was 
a forcible way of warning agains securityships ; for the 
right-hand side is the one of obligation, the left of attes- 
tation. "Never say of any body what you would not 
have proclaimed in the court-house yard." The force of 
the place of utterance can only be appreciated when we 
know that in Kentucky, in early times, that was the place 
of the assemblage of the whole people. " Well is the 
tongue called a two-edged sword," for it makes irrepara- 
ble feuds. A man will forgive an injury before an insult. 
He can bear the first, but not the last, and maintain his 
self-respect. " Keep out of the hands of the doctor and 
the sheriff." That is, avoid debt and disease. He never 
put his hand to any work on his large real-estates, because 
he might injure his limbs, when a .subordinate would do 
the work as well. He would never walk up a steep hill 
to rest his horse, as is the almost universal custom among 
mankind. He said: "There are forty thousand or more 
horses, and but one Green Clay." And yet he rode much, 
and was the most careful man I ever knew in having his 
horse cared for in travel and in the stable. He rarely 
sold on credit. He said: "My property is worth more 
on the farm, or in the store-room, than in the pockets of 
spendthrifts." He rarely employed physicians, holding, 
with many eminent men, and with the most enlightened 
physicians themselves, that nature is stronger than art ; 
and that a man who had a term of years to study his 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 4 1 

own constitution would be a fool if he did not under- 
stand his own case better than one, however skilled, who 
only gave a few minutes of superficial observation to the 
disease. 

He was a hard-worker, yet always would have plenty 
of sleep. He would make up in the day what was ne- 
cessarily lost in the night. He would never allow chil 
dren to be awakened ; but left them, under all circum- 
stances, to sleep on till they awoke of themselves. And 
this is the most important of all the means of health. He 
would never sleep in the house in the day-time, when he 
could find a suitable place to lie down in the open air. 
I attribute much of my good health to the same cause. 
The damp and darkness of rooms, and especially the im- 
perfect ventilation, are the causes of untold diseases. He 
understood very well that impure water was the cause of 
most summer-complaints, as flux, diarrhoea, typhoid and bil- 
ious fevers, etc. Hence, he took all possible precautions to 
secure good pure water. He bored two artesian wells — a 
thing almost unknown in his day; and they produce pure 
water to this time. He was a great lover of sheep; and 
had great faith in mutton, not only for its agreeable and 
nutritious qualities, but as a medicine. When flux pre- 
vailed, which was rarely the case among the blacks, he had 
mutton-soup given to all, sick and well. It is the best 
possible remedy now for that disease. But what physi- 
cian will open the way for a practice which sends him to the 
poor-house? He understood how a mutton-sheep should 
be butchered, an unknown art to millions to-day. No man 
understood better how to manage his dependents. He pro- 
vided first-class clothing, food, and shelter for his slaves; 
but always was rigid and exacting in discipline. Of all the 
men I ever knew, he most kept in view the means which 
influenced the end. 

Now, slavery was a terrible thing; but he made it as 
bearable as was consistent with the facts. When any of 
the slaves were found to "play the old soldier," and pre- 



42 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

tended to be sick, he had a very fine medicine in the bark 
of the white-walnut. This he would have mixed with much 
water. If the patient was really sick, it was a safe and 
excellent remedy for many diseases ; but, if he was play- 
ing "possum," he would go to work rather than swallow 
the bark. There was no market for sheep in those days ; 
and my father's object of raising large flocks was to clothe 
his slaves well. He always had the heaviest cloth made 
for men and women, and then "fulled." By this opera- 
tion the web was thickened, and made, like the felting 
of the wool-hats, water-proof. He used to say: "Better 
lose the value of a coat than that of the workman." He 
fed and sheltered his slaves well, allowing them gardens, 
fowls, and bees. Groups of cabins were far apart for 
pure air. 

He was much ahead of his times in agriculture ; and 
greatly in favor of secure shelter for his stock, grain, and 
hay. In his intercourse with the world, he was rather pleas- 
ant than reserved — never aggressive — but always prepared 
for defense. 

When he went to the relief of Fort Meigs, in 1813, 
which was built on the river Raisin (where now the city of 
Monroe, Michigan, formerly known as Frenchtown, stands), 
instead of going directly to the fort, where he must neces- 
sarily have lost much of his force from the Indian sharp- 
shooters, he landed above, built rapidly flat-boats, with 
high side-planks, which were bullet-proof, and, thus drop- 
ping down the river, he hardly lost a man. 

The defeat of Colonel Dudley was the fruit of a con- 
trary policy. He was ordered by my father to attack a 
battery, spike it, and return to the boats. But Dudley, 
elated by success, followed the Indians, and was cut to 
pieces, with his whole force. 

This caution of my father was regarded by the unwise 
as timidity; and, no doubt, to avoid such imputation, the 
gallant Dudley was ruined. When too late, of course all 
agreed that Clay was the better commander. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



GEN. GREEN CLAY S LETTER TO CAPT. M. HARRISON. 

"Fort Meigs, July 8, 1813. 

"Dear Sir: — I should have written to you more often; but in- 
deed, my friend, we have but -little to write to you about, except 
the battle, and you have heard that told over and over again. I 
have been confined to my tent ever since the 8th of May, nearly ; 
but am recovering, I hope, fast. Here has been a fine field for your 
surgeons — 200 wounded men, and but a few surgeons; many limbs 
have been taken off, and other operations worthy the attention and 
experience of practitioners. A siege is a horrid situation to be 
in ; we were literally driven under ground. The enemy's cannon- 
balls and shells and grape and cannister-shot and carcasses we 
were unable to meet ; and we were compelled to secure ourselves 
by burrowing below. We have had picked up by the soldiers 
about six wagon-loads of balls and shells not bursted, which the 
enemy threw in and at our fort. 

"Your countryman, Maj. D. Trimble, whom I had appointed 
Brigadier-Quartermaster, I am likely to lose. General Harrison 
told me the other day, when he was here, that he had appointed 
him one of his aids. Major Trimble has rendered me great and 
important assistance. When we arrived at Fort Defiance, we were 
met by an express from General Harrison, informing me that the 
enemy had arrived at Fort Meigs with three thousand (3,000) men, 
including Indians ; and ordered me to unload our boats, and force 
ourselves by rapid marches into Fort Meigs. General Harrison 
did not know where his orders might meet me ; therefore it was 
necessary for me to send off an express to General Harrison, in- 
forming him where I was, the strength of my (command) detach- 
ment, and to announce to him my intended route, and time of 
arrival at Fort Meigs. While I was looking out for a proper 
character to execute this dangerous and necessary service, Major 
Trimble volunteered his services. It was, indeed, a forlorn-hope. 
Major Trimble set out late in the afternoon, with six or seven 
men, rowed all night, till he reached the fort, and was fired upon 
and nearly defeated from our own fort. As General Harrison ex- 
pected the enemy to force the walls, he had ordered the sentries 
not to hail. The night being exceedingly dark and rainy, and no 
light in the fort, they fell below it, and were nearly in the 
enemy's camp before they found out their error. He was re- 
ceived with great joy by General Harrison. 



44 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

"On the day of the action, Major Trimble accompanied me 
to cover the retreat of the remnant of Colonel Dudley's regiment, 
and he behaved with great coolness and gallantry. He is really 
the soldier; and has frequently solicited my permission to go out 
scouting and reconnoitering. 

' ' I can not tell what may be thought in Kentucky ; but here, 
the throwing into this fort the small succour of (1,200 men) twelve 
hundred men, invested with so powerful a force, and such a sub- 
tile enemy to cope with, is thought to be one of the most perilous 
and dangerous enterprises an army could be capable of performing 
with raw, undisciplined militia. 

"Here the Kentuckians drove Tecumseh, where the hottest 
battle was fought; and then he crossed the river, and, with their 
whole force, overwhelmed Colonel Dudley. 

"Yours, with sincere respect and esteem, 

' ' Green Clay. 

' ' General Harrison left here the day after the siege was raised, 
and gave the command of this and all the department (forts) posts 
to me. Here are the 4th, 17th, 19th, and 24th United States 
Regiments, two (2) companies of Engineers and Artillerists, two 
(2) Regiments of Ohio Militia, the Pittsburg and Petersburg Vol- 
unteers, and a Corps of Riflemen and Calvary, and my Brigade of 
Kentucky Militia. I am, with high esteem and respect, your most 
obedient servant, Green Clay. 

' ' We shall move on to Maiden shortly. 
"Capt. Micajah Harrison, Mt. Sterling, Ky." 

The impression of timidity made at Fort Meigs caused 
some to doubt his courage ; but, whilst none were more 
prudent than he, none were braver when the occasion called 
for valor. The man who slept often alone in the wilds of 
Kentucky, among bears and Indians, could not be otherwise 
than brave. 

J. J — , owing my father money, challenged him, sup- 
posing that he would bully him ; but my father replied, 
through the same channel of the communication: "That, 
if J — would pay him first, he would fight him afterward." 
That settled the question, of course, without a fight. He 
was economical in saving small and great sums ; but gave 
most liberally when he felt it his duty or his pleasure. He 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 45 

was fond of the beautiful, dressed well, and was scrupu- 
lously cleanly in his person and all his surroundings. He 
always kept good liquors and a good table; but drank 
and ate with moderation. A cultivator of tobacco, neither 
he nor any of his family ever used it in any way. So none 
of his children ever gambled or drank to excess. 

In the discipline of women, my father knew, as every 
sensible man knows, the strength of the sexual passions. 
Nature ever tends to the preservation of the races of ani- 
mals. Opportunity, notwithstanding all the sentimentalism 
about innate chastity, is the cause of most of the lapses 
from virtue. Americans must soon learn this lesson, or we 
are ruined. Reserved and rather stern toward his chil- 
dren, he was yet much devoted to their true interests, and, 
under a hard bearing, he had much tenderness toward them. 
He never struck me a blow but once. Having imported a 
fine merino buck, he had him tied to a tree ; and, whilst 
he was at dinner, seeing the buck a little belligerent, I was 
in the act of inviting a trial of hardness of heads with the 
sheep ! But my father returning, and seeing my danger, 
with the flat of his hand knocked me farther than the sheep 
could probably have done. Some of the calumniators of 
my facile will said, on hearing this in after-life, that my 
father took needless precautions, for my head would have 
proved too hard for the buck. 

He was early convinced of the destructive and exhaus- 
tive culture of tobacco ; and, among the first to do so, ex- 
pelled it from his lands. So he saw that the use of the 
"infernal weed," prostrating the nervous system, led in a 
broad road to drunkenness and disease ; and hence his em- 
bargo against its use. He was also very successful in the 
breeding of pigeons and bees, saying these were the cheap- 
est operatives, "working for nothing, and finding them- 
selves." He was fond of fruits and flowers and trees, and 
attempted landscape-gardening, but it was the false French 
rectangular kind. He had no idea of the effects of forests 
on the production of rain, moisture, etc., in agriculture, but 



46 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

believed in 'the future value of timber; and many acres, if 
kept in the original trees, in fact would sell now for more 
than the land itself. He had no taste for hunting and gun- 
ning, and looked upon them as a waste of time ; but he was 
not averse to music and dancing. 

As he died while I was yet quite young, I knew but 
little of his early life. The tradition is that he was in- 
spired with a love of adventure in consequence of Boone's 
visit to the wilds of Kentucky ; and my grandfather, a 
slave-holder, for some trivial offense, put him, with the 
women and children, to picking cotton, then cultivated for 
family uses, which offended him. At all events, he mi- 
grated whilst yet a minor to Kentucky. For his success, 
and political and civil life, see American Cyclopedia and 
Collin s History of Kentucky. 

^_After the death of my father, in about my seventeenth 
year, I entered Transylvania University, at Lexington, Ky. 
Alva Wood was then president, succeeding Dr. H. Holley, 
who had gained it quite a reputation. Being a brilliant 
scholar, of fine presence, and great conversational powers, 
he was quite a figure in the elegant society for which Lex- 
ington was then noted, as the center of wealth and refine- 
ment of the State — Louisville and Covington being then 
but villages. Wood was also a New Englander, but a 
very different man from Holley ; a fine scholar, but quite 
modest and reserved in his manners and bearing. He was 
very rigid in his discipline and examinations ; and turned 
out some very finely instructed students in the short time 
that he was in the chief place. 

Among those in my class was N. L. Rice, who became 
somewhat notorious for his debate with the illustrious Alex- 
ander Campbell, at Lexington, where Henry Clay presided as 
moderator or chairman. This debater, Rice, whom I heard, 
was a close, silent, and severe student ; but he made no 
mark in college. Lewis Rogers, of Louisville, was a dis- 
tinguished physician, and died in old age, and was re- 
spected there by every one. He was a member of my 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 47 

class, and was the contestant with myself for the first place 
in scholarships. It was a hard-fought battle between us; 
but no public announcement of our relative rank was made, 
as Dr. Wood, being called to the better-paid presidency 
of the Alabama University, left us in the senior year, 
before the time of graduation. But as he offered me the 
first place in the professorships of his new university, per- 
haps I may not be presumptuous in claiming precedence 
in scholarship in Transylvania. 

During my residence in Lexington, I had the good for- 
tune to know and see some of Kentucky's most noted ora- 
tors : Henry Clay, Robert J. Breckinridge, Robert Wick- 
liffe, Jesse Bledsoe, John Pope, and Wm. T. Barry. Here, 
also, I first saw and made the acquaintance of Mary Jane 
Warfield, the daughter of Elisha Warfield, who bred the 
celebrated race-horse Lexington, the best horse, sportsmen 
say, that ever lived. Miss Warfield, the second sister, was 
three years my junior, of medium size, graceful movement, 
and gay, fascinating manners, which are so noted in Irish 
women. She seemed equally pleased with me ; and, with 
a few lines from Byron, on the blank leaves of Wash- 
ington Irving's sketch-book, if I remember aright, I left 
her and Lexington, and joinedYale College, in Yankee 
land, in the year 1831, ent ering the Junior Class. 

Having letters of introduction to many distinguished 
men of both parties, I carried one also to Andrew Jack- 
son ("Old Hickory"), who was then President of the 
United States. My family, father, brothers, etc., were all 
Whigs — Henry Clay Whigs; and when I, having sent in 
my letters, was ushered into the presence of the President 
by his successor, Martin Van Buren, I was fearful that a 
Clay would receive quite a cold reception from Harry's 
old foe. But it was all the contrary. Jackson was as 
courteous, affable, and agreeable as possible ; and, after 
inquiring about many of my acquaintances whom he knew, 
(but nothing about Harry!) where I was going, and what 



48 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

I proposed in my journey East, he dismissed me, by tell- 
ing Mr. Van Buren to take care of me. 

I was surprised and delighted with Jackson ; and did 
not wonder at his great popularity with the public and 
personal friends. As I approached him, he rose up, took 
me by the hand, and seated me. He was a striking fig- 
ure, above six feet high, of fine build and military carriage ; 
his hair grey, cut, and standing up, as all his portraits show 
it. His head, high and expansive, showed great intellec- 
tual and moral powers, rather than that bull-dog courage 
which has always been attributed to him. But I need not 
dwell upon a man so well known, and so often painted by 
word and pencil. After I learned more of his life, and had 
by reflection and experience become better equipped as a 
critic, I think I may say that Jackson was a man of emi- 
nent moral courage rather than physical ; though he had 
ample store of each. 

Man, like other animals, has a mental structure from the 
brain and nerves; and also a physical structure — the brain, 
nerves, and muscles, being more united in the last. Dr. 
Joseph Rodes Buchanan, I think, has proven beyond cavil, 
that the anterior brain is the place of the intellect; and 
the posterior portion, resting upon the neck, is that which 
regulates the muscles, the senses, the sensual and the 
sensuous sentiments, actions and passions. Whilst reject- 
ing the elaborate subdivisions of the brain which phre- 
nology claims, I think these two grand divisions of crani- 
ology must be accepted as facts. 

In the bull-dog, we have the immense neck and pos- 
terior development of the brain, which impels him to sud- 
den and unreflecting brute force and courage. But in the 
shepherd, the spaniel, and the St. Bernard, we see the 
lighter neck and the facial angle of the brain more ele- 
vated, approximating in degree the "human face divine." 
The whole memoirs of Jackson show that he acted accord- 
ing to his facial, or rather higher cranial, structure. He was 
not quick to resent injuries, far less to rush into personal 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 49 

assault ; but, on the contrary, was quite well poised and cau- 
tious in difficulties, when force was to be used. He showed 
this in his Indian wars, and also in his battle at New Or- 
leans. But, "being in," he exerted all his moral forces, 
and all his physical powers, to the fullest extent. So he 
attacked the British unawares before the great battle of 
the 8th ; not so much to demoralize those trained veterans, 
as to prove, in a one-sided and partial success, to his own 
new troops, that these "Red Coats" were not invincible. 
Then, again, on account of the situation of the ground, 
the British must advance at right lines in the front, or not 
at all. So he wisely intrenched and fortified with the cele- 
brated cotton-bales, which were not only accessible, but 
the finest possible material for the purpose. The result 
all the world knows. And this mental foresight in resisting 
force, or other obstructions of a mental or sentimental cast, 
is moral courage. And this all great statesmen and gen- 
erals have exhibited ; notably, Caesar, Hannibal, Scipio, Na- 
poleon, and others. 

At Lodi, the bridge must be passed, or the battle lost ; 
and the battle lost in the enemy's country, with an army 
numerically greatly inferior, and far from recruits or sup- 
plies, all was lost. Hence the "Little Corporal" went 
into the fight first with the moral and then the brute cour- 
age united; and fortune stood on his side. Henry Clay 
had equal moral courage with Jackson, but he lacked 
military glory; and, with the ignorant majority, military 
glory is appreciable ; whilst moral courage and intellectual 
statesmanship are incomprehensible. In such conflict, Jack- 
son, of course, triumphed. Had Mr. Clay accepted the 
Generalship-in-Chief in the War of 1812, as proposed by 
his friends — the President, Madison, being one — there is no 
doubt but he would have made a great and successful 
general ; for, of all men who evef came into political 
rivalry in our country, Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson 
were the most alike in character. 
Vol. I.— 4 



50 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Of all the generals who have lived, Julius Caesar was 
the greatest ; and he was great in all the departments of 
human effort — great as a lawyer, great as an orator, great 
as a historian, and greatest as a general. In the social 
circle, among men and women, he had no superior — hand- 
some, affable, considerate, and magnetic; whilst in battle 
he was quick, stern, and inflexible — first anticipating all 
obstructions, and then rushing like exploding dynamite 
upon his astonished foes. Jackson and Clay, if they had 
the equal talent of Caesar, had not his opportunities ; and, 
after all, fate plays a great and unknown part in human 
affairs, and men are rather the sequences than the directors 
of events. Later in life I knew Thomas H. Benton. 

On the same occasion I was introduced to John C. Cal- 
houn, who was quite courteous to me. Still, as I had no 
admiration for the man's principles, I made my visit short. 
His person was good, and his face intellectual and express- 
ive ; but he left no great impression on my memory. As 
we were in antagonism all our lives on great and conflict- 
ing principles, I say no more about him. 

Mr. Van Buren invited me to a family dinner, his three 
sons being at table, among whom was "Prince John," as 
he was familiarly called by his friends, whom I afterward 
met in Russia, and of whom I shall speak again. Van 
Buren was kind but reserved, and I only remember his 
rather square German face and head. And here I was 
struck with the different manners of the North and the 
South, which continue to this day. The Russians of the 
higher class are more like the Southerners, than the South- 
erners are like the Northerners. In Baltimore I made the 
acquaintance of Reverdy Johnson, and his most agreeable 
family, and other men of less note. In Philadelphia, I car- 
ried letters to John Sargent, and I was introduced to the 
Ingersolls, Biddies, and other distinguished families, who 
left no impression upon me. New York was democratic, 
and then provincial, compared to Philadelphia, and I car- 
ried no letters there. Passing New Haven, I went to 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 5 1 

Boston, and formed a very large circle of acquaintances. 
I carried letters to John Quincy Adams, George Ticknor, 
and others. I saw Mr. Adams on my second visit to 
Boston, after I had begun political life, at his own home 
at Quincy, and spent over an hour with him. At that time 
(I never have been there since,) the famous man, though 
wealthy, lived in a framed house of very humble preten- 
sions, in an agreeable group of trees and shrubbery. The 
ceiling was very low, being much less airy than my own 
house. I found Mr. Adams at home, and, waiting in the 
hall to send in my card and letters, in a very short time I 
was in the presence of the statesman whom I so much 
admired, as the friend of Henry Clay. He is too well 
known to call for my impressions of his person. He re- 
ceived me with a smile, and talked long and familiarly with 
me. But after such a lapse of tim,e, but little remains on 
my memory. I only recall that he told me he never missed 
an appointment in his life. I, knowing the careless habits 
of the South in that respect, said to him: "You, of course, 
speak of appointments to speak." "No," returned he; 
" but in all the transactions of life, I make it a rule to be 
prompt at the time named." 

This made such an impression on me, that I determined 
that I would imitate him myself. And I can now say that I 
have made more public speeches than any man in America, 
excepting the public lectures may be so called, and I have 
never missed an appointment. I was always ready to move, 
and to move on the first conveyance. So that, if the first 
boat, car, or stage broke down, I would have the chance of 
the next; and, if there were no other trains or conveyance, 
I had at least all chances of repair of the ones used. Once, 
however, whilst lecturing in New York, with all my precau- 
tions, I missed connection, and was about to lose my ap- 
pointment. I was getting then from from fifty to one hun- 
dred dollars for each lecture (a large sum then for any one, 
and I was not interested in it), so if I lost that one, I 
I lest not only my hundred dollars, but was likely to lose 



52 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

the next series, or a part of it. So, going to a rail- 
road office, I paid fifty dollars for a special car, and so 
down in time. The audience, a full house, were all in, 
and waiting for me. The time was nearly up, and many 
said: "He can not come; the train is in, and Clay not on 
it." Here a friend of mine, knowing my punctuality, said: 
"I will bet a hundred dollars that Clay will be in time by 
the clock." The bet was made, and in I walked. My 
friend, who afterward told me the circumstance, said: "I 
handed back' the money, telling the loser that it was not 
fair to take it up on a certainty of the result." 

When I spoke in Ohio, in 1876, I was forty miles away 
from my appointment; and, there being no stage, boat, or 
railroad in that direction, all my friends said it was impos- 
sible ; but I got there in time by carriage, with relays of 
horses. So, in 1875, I was at Memphis, and my appoint- 
ment was at Greenville, Mississippi. All said it was use- 
less to attempt it ; yet, after forty-eight hours' struggle, I 
was in the presence of my expectant audience, and received 
with great enthusiasm. So, in all my life-work, I have 
not recognized the impossible till fate had finally decided. 
Something of this is, no doubt, constitutional ; but much 
was the result of illustrious example. 

As this visit was probably in 1844, after I had entered 
upon my anti-slavery career, Mr. Adams paid me the com- 
pliment of saying he regarded me as "one of the pillars of 
the temple of American liberty." 

/ " A t my first visit to Boston, I carried letters to Daniel 
Webster, and made his acquaintance ; but of him I shall 
say more hereafter. I found George Ticknor in his Bos- 
ton home. I well remember his massive, high forehead, 
and distinguished bearing. At a private ball at his house, 
I met again Daniel Webster. He had the largest private 
library I had seen — the whole walls of a large room being 
filled with books. Then and afterward I met and made the 
acquaintance of most of Boston's distinguished men and 
women : Whittier, the poet ; the Quincys ; the Otises ; Dr. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 53 

Howe, and his famous wife, Julia Ward H., whom I visited 
at their country home; John J. Palfrey, John A. Andrew, 
and Edward Everett, with all three of whom I afterward 
had correspondence, as well as with the Quincys, Phillipses, 
etc.; Wm. Lloyd Garrison; Robert Winthrop ; Judge Bige- 
low, and his accomplished lady, whose guests Mrs. Clay and 
myself were in 1844; and Charles Sumner, who afterward 
visited me in Kentucky. I saw Rufus Choate the lawyer, 
but was never presented to him. I well remember his 
large frame, and great thoughtful eyes ; but never heard 
him speak. It was much later in life when I met my 
eccentric and distinguished friend, Benj. F. Butler, who, 
like the German carp, is likely to live a hundred years, and 
keep the waters muddy and turbulent all the time ! 



CHAPTER III 



Yale College. — Its President and Professors. — William Lloyd Garrison. — 
His logical discourse converts me. — I deliver the Washington Centen- 
nial Oration of 1832. — Am Baptized. — Christianity, reflections con- 
cerning. — Class-mates. — Joseph Longworth. — His father, Nicholas Long- 
worth.— American Grapes and Wines. — Allan Taylor Caperton. — The 
Lost Love. — Lines Poetic. — "Girls and Boys go a Hickory-nut-hunting." 
A Portrait. — Engaged. 



AS I was well up in my studies, being a good Latin 
scholar, and then well versed in the French (though 
this last was not in the regular course), I easily joined 
the Junior Class in their last session, toward commence- 
ment. Jeremiah Day was president, and well advanced in 
life ; unprepossessing in features, yet with the impress of 
a high moral and benignant nature. 

I had gone to Boston in part to determine whether I 
would enter Harvard or Yale, and decided to go to New 
Haven, on account of its reputed beauty of trees, as well 
as its reputation for thoroughness in education — a prime 
quality always with me. For when I studied Latin with 
Joshua Fry, Graves and Bates, boarding more than a mile 
from our school, often came to consult the old teacher 
about the translation of a single word when they differed. 
This was the way to make great scholars and great men. 
The vast field of the "curriculum" attempted in modern 
times is more destructive to the intellect than no educa- 
tion at all, in the great mass of students. The mind, en- 
feebled by frequent failure to grasp the subject at issue, 
becomes often despondent, and at last impotent! 

There were quite a number of Southerners then in 

<v^ Yale ; so I soon felt at home, and entered upon my 

studies with good heart. I joined one of the college 

societies, and took a leading part in the debates ; but, as 

54 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 55 

I soon entered upon an exciting political career, I do not 
now remember to what society I did or do now belong. 
I believe it was the AJ4i ha Beta_ Mki. President Day was 
silent, dignified, and amiable. He never said anything; but 
we all loved him. All the other professors had their admirers 
and their critics. Benjamin Silliman, the chief figure, was 
then in the height of his eminence as a chemist, and in- 
ventor, and experimenter, in all the civilized world ; of large 
stature and of large brain, and "as happy as a big sun- 
flower;" full of vanity, but of that pleasant sort which, 
running over, allows his friends to share the intoxicating 
fluid ; and so he, too, had no enemies. Professor Good- 
rich was ambitious and great, I suppose, in Greek ; but, 
as I went through four colleges, and don 't know my 
Greek letters hardly, I pass on! Professor J. L. Kings- 
ley was a man of fine common sense, and was highly 
respected. Professor Olmstead was silent, amiable, and 
liked by his scholars. The Rev. Leonard Bacon was then 
the leading preacher in the Independent Presbyterian 
Church at Yale ; a cold, technical, dogmatical Puritan. 
He was always an uncompromising defender of slavery; 
bolstering it up, when it only could take a stand in the 
Jewish Scriptures, after it had been driven for centuries 
from the hearts of all true Christians. Perhaps he found 
it his interest to be on the winning side for the Union 
wh^n he saw it was inevitable, and that slavery and all its 
defenders would go down ! But I pass the learned doctor^ 
to consider a character worthy the admiration and gratitude 
of all mankind. 

One of the peculiarities of the anti-bellum times was 
the isolation of thought between the Liberals of the South 
and the North. Such was the policy of the South. So, 
when I entered Yale, with my soul full of hatred to slavery, 
I had never known anything of Garrison or his history. 
Soon after I entered college, before I had noted the situa- 
tion, it was announced that Garrison was going to speak 
in the South Church that night — the church, at least, 



56 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

nearest the South of the city, and, I think, so called. 
"Who is Garrison?" I asked. "Why, Garrison is the 
Abolitionist. Don't you know?" So, as I had never 
heard an Abolitionist, nor the name hardly, I went to 
hear Garrison. 

Every accessible place was crowded ; but I pressed on 
determinedly to the front, so far as to see and hear him 
fully. In plain, logical, and sententious language he 
treated the "Divine Institution" so as to burn like a 
branding-iron into the most callous hide of the slave- 
holder and his defenders. This was a new revelation to 
me. I felt all the horrors of slavery; but my parents 
were slave-holders ; all my known kindred in Kentucky 
were slave-holders ; and I regarded it as I did other evils 
of humanity, as the fixed law of Nature or of God, and 
submitted as best I might. But Garrison dragged out 
the monster from all his citadels, and left him stabbed to 
the vitals, and dying at the feet of every logical and hon- 
est mind. 

As water to a thirsty wayfarer, were to me Garrison's 
arguments and sentiments. He was often and boisterously 
hissed ; but I stood silent and thoughtful in the depths of 
my new thought. Another meeting of the citizens was 
called for the next night, to answer Garrison. I do not now 
remember who were the orators; but the "Liberal" Dr. 
Bacon ought to have been, if he was not, the man to 
answer such broad logic of truth, and justice, and relig- 
ion, and humanity; for he had that temperament and tech- 
nichal training which best fitted him to make the worse 
appear the better cause. I once more got a good place 
to hear; and, as sophism after sophism, and false conclu- 
sion from more false assumptions followed, in chain-like 
succession, they were greeted with thundering applause. 
This aroused me from my apathy. I felt the greatest in- 
dignation. I never, in all my life, was so agitated in a 
public assemblage. I first thought I would interrupt him, 
'and deny his assumptions of fact; then I concluded to 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 57 

answer him in order; and, was preparing to do so, when 
another sprang up, and gave me time to reflect, that I had 
come to Yale to learn, and not to teach. So I returned to 
my room as full of tumultuous emotions as on the night 
before. I then resolved, however, that, when I had the 
strength, if ever, I would give slavery a death struggle. 

I pursued my studies with energy. On the 2 2d day 
of February, 1832, I was chosen to deliver the Centennial 
Oration on Washington's birth. This I spoke only on the 
part of the Senior Class. There was no other similar ora- 
tion made in New Haven on that day. So I had the 
whole of the elite, social and literary, of the college and 
New Haven to hear me. And there I made my first anti- 
slavery speech. (See Greeley's Life and Writings of C. 
M. Clay, New York, 1848.) My mother, my elder brother, 
Sidney P. (a Presbyterian), and all my family (but Brutus 
and I), my sisters Eliza, Paulina, and Anne, belonged to 
some church. The moral sentiments move in concert, as 
the evil passions do. So the good seed which Garrison 
had watered, and which my own bitter experience had 
sown, aroused my whole soul. 

There was a religious revival in our senior year. I, 
too, abandoned my old departures from the known paths 
of the eternal laws, and joined the revivalists ; and was 
baptized by the Baptist minister in New Haven Sound. 
My mother was a Calvinist Baptist, and naturally I would 
fall into her church ; but when I remembered the speakers 
in the Garrison foray, I could never feel brotherhood for 
such Christians. So I sought a common-place Baptist 
preacher, and was baptized in the sea, and received into 
his church. I received my religion as a matter of 
course, just as I did slavery on trust ; but when I began 
to read the Scriptures, on my return home (like Paley's 
Evidences of Christianity), they rather upset than con- 
firmed my faith ; and I finally wrote to our New Haven 
minister to strike me from the roll of the church. Then 
I was reminded of Bacon's theology and its fruits, which 



58 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

I had seen in the old South Church ; for I saw all around 
me the whole clergy, with the exception of John G. Fee 
(now of Berea College, Madison County, Kentucky), stand- 
ing for slavery as a "Divine Institution!" I had no fellow- 
ship with men with such a creed; and I preferred, if God 
was on that side, to stand with the Devil rather; for he 
was silent, at least. So, if I said and wrote hard things 
against the Scriptures, and especially the preachers, it was 
because they were the false prophets which it was neces- 
sary to destroy with slavery. 

But larger experience in the world has taught me to 
look at Christianity (though the clergy have done more 
for infidelity than all the infidels,) in a broader apprecia- 
tion, and with a more philosophical spirit. The true 
theory I have touched upon in the chapter where I speak 
of Ingersoll. And we must look upon the Christian sys- 
tem not as a matter of faith, nor as a religious code only, 
but as a great moral system of infinite worth to the human 
race ; not at all to be questioned, far less rejected, because 
there may be in its professions or history some assumed 
facts irreconcilable with reason. We must stand with 
Franklin in his system of morality, as illustrated by his 
axe : He found it difficult to grind his axe altogether 
bright; but did not thereupon throw it away. It was a 
good and useful axe, even with a few insignificant spots 
left upon it. So I stand by Christianity, however repre- 
sented, or however misrepresented — seeing a grand and 
ennobling and saving system left for the elevation and 
happiness of mankind. After you have washed away all 
the dirt and all the tattered rags, which enemies and false 
or deluded friends have thrown around it, there Christianity 
still stands in unrivalled perfection and beauty, worthy of 
our highest worship and devotion in the world ; and our 
only hope of another and a better life in the infinite un- 
known. 

The Cosmos, infinite in itself, can never be solved by 
man of finite faculties. This morning it was dark, and in 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 59 

a few minutes the light of morn began to stream through 
the window-shutters — wonderful work of Nature or Di- 
vinity. These same wonders have been repeated all those 
years of a long and observant life. They have been sub- 
jected to all science, and all logic, and all speculation ; and 
they are as far from being solved as in my infancy. It may 
be said that of the hereafter, and of the immortality of the 
soul, we know nothing. Granted. If a future life can not 
be proved, it can not be disproved. And when we have fol- 
lowed all the scientists to that unknown bourne, we are just 
as much in the dark as in the beginning of man's existence. 
So, when speculation and aspiration are all that is left us, 
it seems to me the safest and most logical course to hope 
for the happiest issues, and there rest. 

Of my class-mates, Joseph Longworth was the most 
noted in after-life, for his munificent gift at Cincinnati to 
promote art. At college, as in after-life, he was unambi- 
tious. We were much together. Very amiable, and very 
full of humor and wit, he was the most pleasant of com- 
panions. His tastes were then decidedly literary; and he 
could aptly quote, and humorously or seriously declaim, 
choice fragments from all of the most popular authors. In 
Connecticut the white fish were seined and used to manure 
the fields. The odor was not agreeable. One morning, 
meeting me coolly taking my usual walk in the near 
grounds, with which New Haven was surrounded, by the 
Hillhouse estate and others, Longworth said: "Ah!" rub- 
bing his hands, "Ever fond of nature; listening to the birds, 
and breathing the delightful atmosphere of the white fish! " 
When one of his collegiates, in after-life, wrote to him, as 
to others, for the data of a sketch of his life, he replied he 
had nothing to say, and "could hardly be expected to as- 
sist in taking his own life!" His father, Nicholas Long- 
worth (whom I well knew, and with whose agreeable family 
I spent many pleasant days after my marriage — Mrs. L., 
Mrs. Eliza Flagg, and Miss Kate Longworth, who after- 
ward married Larz Anderson, brother of the defender of 



60 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Fort Sumter), was a man of sterling qualities, to whom 
the enterprising city of Cincinnati owes much of her great 
prosperity. He was the first who, having tried all the 
leading foreign grapes, conceived the idea of cultivating 
native vines. He introduced the Catawba from North 
Carolina, the best wine and eating grape in this latitude, 
and other varieties ; and set the public in the right direc- 
tion. His hints have been well followed up; and we now 
rival Europe. This, it is true, at a distance ; but finally we 
will excel her in both grapes and wine, Mr. Longworth, 
in both, having set the example. 

Of all the snobs in the world, save me from the Amer- 
ican snob ! Mr. Longworth sent some boxes of Catawba 
champagne to the American Minister at London, to try and 
introduce it into Great Britain, and which was of course 
a great market for all foreign wines ; but, instead of grasp- 
ing the idea of Mr. Longworth, he wrote, and it reached 
the journals, that he was not engaged in commerce; and 
he indignantly refused the gift. When we remember that 
the Prince of Wales is now breeding South-Downs, con- 
testing the prizes in the royal agricultural shows, and else- 
where, and sending his sheep to the United States, with 
his name marked upon the wool for sale, we can appreci- 
ate the difference between men of sense and gentlemen, 
like the Prince and Longworth, and the man raised by 
chance to distinguished position. His name is already 
forgotten ; but Longworth will ever remain in the memory 
of Americans, as one of their greatest benefactors. For 
he was not confined in his efforts to grape-culture, but 
made advances in horticulture and the fine arts, and land- 
scape-gardening. 

As an instance of the absurdities of fashion and habit, 
it was objected to the American wines that they had too 
much bouquet, or grape-taste; and the "dry," "insipid," 
"doctored" wines of Europe were greatly preferred. I 
never gave way to such nonsense; for what flavor in all 
nature is more delicious than the taste of a fine ripe grape? 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 6 1 

But now American wines are sought after, for the same 
reason that they were once rejected ; and the time is near 
when we will supply, not only ourselves, but, in part, the 
world with wine. For our soil and climate are admirably 
adapted to the grape; and experience will, at last, teach 
us the best methods of turning the fruit into wines. 

Professor Ed. E. Salisbury, my junior by a few years, 
was also my class-mate. He was wealthy, and married a 
woman of fortune ; and spent much time in Europe and 
the East. He was a fine scholar, and studied the ancient 
and oriental languages in Paris; and, in 1841, was made 
honorary professor of Arabic and Sanscrit in Yale. He 
attained distinction as a scholar at home and abroad. But 
my purpose is simple mention ; and I conclude by saying 
that he has added much to his own and the reputation 
of his country and Yale. 

Well do I remember Allen Taylor Caperton, of Vir- 
ginia, with his ever-beaming grey eyes and flexible feat- 
ures. He was much my friend, and I saw much of him. 
Full of wit and humor and "practical jokes," he won the 
hearts of all. The leader of all fun — changing the signs 
of business-houses, and making things very ridiculous ; 
tossing bores, who could take no other hints to be off, 
in blankets ; and treating the Northerners to their tradi- 
tional pies unbaked! He led a slip-shod life, and hardly 
passed graduation by the general favor which all enter- 
tained for him. So, we might say of him, as Prince Hal 
said of Falstaff : " Well could we have spared a better 
man." But, as history frequently has shown, like most 
men of exuberant spirits in college, when he entered real 
life he laid aside his frivolity, and addressed himself with 
ability and success to his life-work. He was a good 
lawyer, but shone most as a politician, entering the Con- 
federate States' Senate ; and, after the restoration of the 
Union, the Senate of the United States. I copy, from 
the obituary oration of Senator Tucker, of Virginia, 1877, 
a single extract : 



62 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

"As a public man, he was animated by a high public spirit, 
lending his aid to all schemes which would benefit and advance 

the interests of his community He fell at the post 

of duty; and has left to his countrymen a name without a stain, a 
character for spotless and lofty integrity, and the perpetual mem- 
ory of a noble and honorable life." 

N^Benjamin Hardin's son Rowan, and Howard Wickliffe, 
son of Robert Wickliffe, all Kentuckians, were in the 
lower classes with m e at Yale, and associates. They were 
men of great natural powers and true worth, but died 
young. So the gods decreed. Thus others, whom I re- 
member with the pleasures of friendship, fell by the way- 
side, in the hard ascent of — 

"The steep where fame's proud temple shines afar." 

Between the time when I stood in the waters of Tates' 
creek, and nearly cut off the big toe of the girl who took 
part with the dominie with the long beech-rod, and the 
time when I committed the irrevocable and most important 
act of my life — marriage — there was in my own town a 
girl, E. R — , slightly my junior, and also a blonde. Too 
young to have suitors, like the native wild-flowers of our 
grand forests, she was budding unseen and unconscious 
of her charms, which were so attractive to those who were 
fortunate enough to have been by any chance thrown within 
her domestic circle. To see her was to love her. How 
far she reciprocated my half-avowed passion I can only con- 
jecture ; but that conjecture was to me full of hope, and 
set me seriously to consider the greatest problem of life. * 

* About this time inspired, as most young men, I wrote the 

following lines, then published, and often complimented: 

C. 1885. 
LINES, 

BY CASSIUS M. CLAY. 

Dear to Chaldeans are the skies ; 
To Magi dear the morning sun ; 
But oh ! give me a woman's eyes 
To look upon. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 63 

Jealous eyes, however, as ever in such affairs are inevita- 
ble, had "ta'en a note;" and a proud family, impatient 
under vulgar espionage and offensive comment, gathered 
up their household gods, with the loved one included, 
and took refuge in the Far West. What was my sur- 
prise and despair when these facts were confirmed beyond 
question! My first thought, on my return home, was to 
follow, and avow my passion, and thus prove the sincerity 
of the tacit promise, which might fairly be inferred, though 
both of us were under the age for such serious venture. 
But on a second thought, as our families were of equal 
rank, might not my purpose have been anticipated, and 
the suit have been unacceptable? I, too, was proud- 
hearted ; and never saw her more ! Thus perished, as 
with one awaking, a beautiful dream ; but its memory re- 
mains forever! Such first love has been felt by poet and 
sage, as the one undissoluble tie of kindred souls, which 
fill with sunshine or shade all after-life ; and is the inex- 
orable, called "fate!" 

So at sea, I drifted to the scenes of later boyhood; and, 

My spirit, as the Lybian wilds, 
Which Niger's flood would quench in vain, 
Though drinking in a thousand smiles, 
Yet thirsts again. 

My heart, just as the fabled one 
Of him where vultures ever prey, 
Though long by passion fed upon, 
Wastes not away. 

My love, is like the flaming beams 
Of vestal fire in sacred urns ; 
By day and night, awake, in dreams, 
It ever burns. 

Chaldeans live in clouded skies, 
And Magi breathe without the sun ; 
Shut out from me loved woman's eyes — 
— 1833. I am undone. 



64 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

at Lexington, was united in marriage with her who held 
the book given during my course in Transylvania. 

Mary Jane had not yet reached her eighteenth year, 
and was still going to school in Lexington. Her house 
was already open to her young friends. Her elder sister, 
Anne, about this time had returned from an Eastern school, 
and made her entrance into society. She imported all the 
follies and habitudes of such academies ; and aspired to 
lead the elegant society for which Lexington has ever 
been noted. She was dark-skinned, slightly freckled, with 
thin hair and person, and " jimber-jawed." So that, in 
early life, "her nose and chin did threaten 'ither!" She 
had what was then, in cant phrase, called the "Grecian 
bend," an inclination of the body forward, after the man- 
ner of some of the classic Venuses. This indecent atti- 
tude of self-consciousness, well enough in the sensual 
pagan idea of womanhood, was avoided by my friend, 
Joel T. Hart, in his "Woman Triumphant." Whilst fol- 
lowing nature in the course of time, he impersonates the 
modern woman of purity, and the flexibility of features 
which comes of mental and moral culture. Whilst some 
women are said to gush with sympathy or affection, Anne 
reversed that artistic operation. She gushed with an affec- 
tation of contempt or hatred. She would throw up both 
hands, roll her eyes as if all was over with her, and then, 
opening wide her mouth, she would break out in an 
indescribable guffaw. She seemed at daggers'- points 
with herself and all the world, which was ominous of all 
the ills of her future life ! As a scandal-monger, she ter- 
rorized all Lexington. Never, therefore, had woman so 
magnificent a foil to set off her charms, as the younger 
sister had in the elder Warfield. 

The guests would sit in some constraint, talking to 
each other, or the family, till Mary Jane returned from 
school. She would come at times bolting in, with hair 
uncombed, leaving her sun-bonnet and satchel of books 
in the ante-room ; or, throwing them down in a chair, 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 65 

dressed in plain but loose-cut school-girl's attire, and, en- 
tering at once into general conversation, she soon had the 
whole attention of the visitors. Was this simplicity or the 
highest art? The morning and the evening hours of re- 
ception were thus so occupied, that I had no opportunity 
of saying a word of love to her. I saw that she was as 
much attracted by me as I was by her. So she said quietly 
to me, that she was going on a certain day hickory-nut- 
hunting with a few girls, at the house of John Allen, Esq. — 
with his daughter — in Fayette County. She never asked 
me to go; yet I was there when the party arrived. 

Now, in Kentucky, hickory-nut-hunting has been one of 
the diversions of the young folks, rich and poor, from the 
beginning ; and continues so to this day, being one of the 
most agreeable of picnics. 

John Allen was a typical Kentuckian of those days. 
He had married my blood-relative through the Paynes — 
the mother of Madison C. Johnson, (my brother-in-law, 
who had allied himself with my sister, Anne, after the 
tragic death of her first husband, Edmund Irvine, Esq., of 
Madison County,) and of George W. Johnson, who was 
made Confederate Governor of Kentucky, and was killed 
in battle during the Rebellion. Allen had, also, by his 
first wife, a fine looking and genial daughter, Eliza, and 
several handsome sons. So we "girls and boys" all went 
a hickory-nut-hunting. 

There are no finer forests in the world than the natu- 
ral parks of the "Blue-grass region" of Kentucky. The 
sugar-maple, tulip, coffee-bean, hickory-nut, and other trees, 
were just touched with an October frost, so as to cause the 
nuts to fall. The leaves wore that celebrated many-colored 
foliage which comes of the maturity of the sap, which is 
seen to such perfection in no other portion of the world. 
The long blue-grass, which turns the forests into parks, 
was yet green as in midsummer ; the subdued rays of 
the October sun, falling with shimmering light through 
the half-nude boughs of the trees, warmed the genial air, 
Vol. I.— 5 



66 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

and dispelled the moisture from the soil. Some birds yet 
ventured into fragmentary songs, ere taking their flight of 
migration further South, to winter; whilst the grey squir- 
rels, with their long bushy tails turned over their backs, 
like an ostrich-feather over a military hat, barked with 
vivacity at the intruders upon their quiet retreats. 

Mary Jane, by all the standards of personal description, 
was of medium size. Her grandfather, Barr, was a native 
Irishman; and the Warfields were a Maryland family of 
fair standing. When I visited Baltimore, on my way to 
college, a Miss Warfield was a leading belle in polite 
society. The Barrs were fair, but the Warfields had dark 
skins and hair. She had the complexion of her Irish an- 
cestors — a fair smooth skin, at times touched with rose- 
color; a face and head not classical, with rather broad 
jaws, large mouth, flexible lips, rather thin and deter- 
mined, but with outline well cut, and an irregular nose. 
Her hair was of a light auburn or nut-color, long and lux- 
uriant. Her eyes were a light greyish-blue, large and far 
apart, with that flexibility of the iris which gives always 
great variety and intensity of expression. She was the 
best amateur-singer I ever heard ; and, as I have been fa- 
miliar with the voices of Jenny Lind, Lucca, Patti, and all 
the most celebrated singers of my day, I venture to say 
that hers was, in compass and tone, unsurpassed. In dis- 
position, she was apparently the most amiable of women ; 
and basking, as the sex rarely does, in the light of uni- 
versal admiration, she might be said to be the impersona- 
tion, like Calypso's isle, of "eternal springtime. " 

One of the calamities of civilization is the deterioration 
of the five senses — the sight, the touch, the smell, the 
hearing, and the taste. But, of all these, the faculty of 
distinguishing odors is thus the most impaired. Every 
one of the fauna and flora, and many of the mineral 
kingdom have a distinct smell. The odor of the horse 
is very disagreeable ; but who has not read in poetry (if 
not familiar in fact,) of the sweet breath of the ruminating 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 67 

kine? Who has failed to observe how the dog recognizes 
the master more by the smell than the sight? For by the 
sight is recognition, whilst the smell is that and more — a 
source of pleasure. So the well-cultivated dog hates the 
tramp, not for his rough dress, but for his offensive odor. 
How he pushes his nose, at every opportunity, upon the 
garments, face, and hands, of his beloved master, and 
touches him fondly with his tongue! So bees like one 
and hate another, no doubt for the same reason. Now, 
never having dulled my senses with tobacco, tea or coffee, 
whiskey or opium, and living much in the open air, they 
have ever remained acute. Of all odors, which city folks 
know so little, those of the wild grape-vine, crab-apple, 
and the fresh hickory-nuts are the most delicious. 

I sat down under the trees on the long grass; and, 
with two small stones, easily picked up in this limestone 
region, I was hulling the nuts, whilst the others, with hands 
and handkerchiefs, were picking them up, and in groups 
also cracking them, carrying and emptying them into a 
pile near me. Mary Jane, usually so careless in her dress, 
I noticed now wore more costly material, prepared with 
more care, but all in admirable taste. Her hair, the bon- 
net off, with exercise having fallen down, she had hastily 
and loosely adjusted. She came to me when the others 
were farthest off, and busily engaged in talk, and, picking 
up the nuts, emptied her handkerchief on the pile. I 
said: "Come and help me." She replied, with some 
tremor in her voice: "I have no seat." Putting my feet 
closer together, as they were stretched out on the ground, 
I said: "You may sit down here, if you will be mine." 
She hesitated a moment (she was standing near me. with 
her face in the same direction), and then — down she came! 
brushing my cheek with her disordered hair, with the 
aroma, sweeter than orange-blossoms, of the hickory-nuts. 
She just touched me with the skirts of her dress, and said: 
"I am yours." Then she hurried off to mingle with her 
companions again. Thus she attacked nearly all my senses 



68 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

at once! Was it simplicity, or the highest art? This, at 
all events, was a moment of supreme bliss, which comes 
but once in life, when the soul has not felt the degrading 
union of the earthy with the immortal, by which come sin 
and woe and death into the world ! 

Mrs Allen was a woman of superior intellect, very ob- 
servant, and much my friend. When the city party had 
left, she called me aside, and said: "Cousin Cash, I see 
that you are much taken with Mary Jane. Don't you 
marry her; dorit you marry a Warfield ! There are the 
Misses M. W— , E. B— , C. H— , and E. R— , fine and 
cultured women of large fortunes and good families, but 
in all these tilings you are at least their equal. I do n't 
say you can marry any one of them, but I do say you can 
marry one of them, who will make you a good wife, and 
you will be happy." 



CHAPTER IV. 



Womans' Rights.— Death of Dr. J. P. Declarey.— Political Life.— Elected 
to the Kentucky House of Representatives. — Robert Wickliffe. — I 
speak at Stanford, Lincoln County.— Fight with James C. Sprigg. — The 
Canvass of 1841. — Duel with Wickliffe. — Fight with S. M. Brown, at 

Russell's Cave. 



MRS. Elisha (Maria B.) Warfield was a fine looking old 
lady, with handsome and gallant brothers. She as- 
sumed to be the head of the family, which her husband 
with good sense allowed generally; but I found that, in 
matters of moment, he came to the front, and the madam 
surrendered at discretion. I had been bred in a different 
school, where my father never appeared to show authority, 
because his supremacy was never questioned. So I looked 
with some discontent at this new state of things. There 
was no political aspirations at that time toward Womans' 
Rights, but in all these years I find no reason to change 
my views. It is not at all a false sentiment which places 
the male at the head of government, and the female de- 
pendent upon his superior intellect and physical strength. 
The red-birds which eat at my crumb-box are the most 
shy of all our songsters. The male enters the box very 
cautiously, takes a crumb, and feeds his timid mate, that 
sits on a near bough, as the mother would feed her young. 
The barn-yard cock leads the females to the feeding- 
grounds ; finds and shares the food, and stands forever on 
the watch for the hawk. He is never off guard; but, when 
the enemy appears, he sounds the alarm, the hens take at 
once to the bushes, and he, standing alone, often defends 
himself against his powerful enemy, or, at least, sullenly 
takes cover when the last female is secure. So the wild 

69 



JO MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

horses on the prairies, and the lions and elephants of the 
African and Asiatic jungles follow the same law, and 
which is the universal law of animal life. Even the bees 
are no exception ; for the queen is certainly dependent 
upon the males and neuters, and they do not at all lean 
upon her. I believe that the so-called advance in civilization 
which secures separate property rights to women is a fatal 
mistake. It denies the unity of interests in families, breeds 
suspicion and war, and is the chief cause of divorce, which 
signalizes modern society — "the cause of all our woe." 
These evils would be intensely aggravated by equal suf- 
frage, where politics often leads to bloodshed, by passions 
which would invade the peace of every household. Suf- 
frage is already in the hands of the ignorant and the 
vicious — a dangerous experiment; and its extension to 
women would, in my judgment, but add fuel to the fire. 

So I foolishly asked Dr. Warfield for Mary Jane's hand, 
saying nothing to her mother. After a long time waiting 
for a reply and receiving none, I began to stand upon my 
mettle. One day we had gone on horse-back from their 
country residence, the "Meadows," to Uncle Ben. War- 
fields', on an adjoining farm, who was a fine old gentle- 
man, whom I always loved. Indeed, none of the War- 
fields of the old set were bad men ; but rather men of 
character and good sense, but narrow-minded in political 
sentiment. When we returned, without explanation, I de- 
clined to go in, and said I would not come again ; and 
then I went back to Lexington. That evening I was at 
a private party of the elite of the city, when a messenger 
from the "Meadows" handed me a letter. It was from the 
father only, in response to my former letter, giving me his 
daughter. The letter was a great relief to me ; for it 
showed that I had rightly divined the cause of the delay, 
and had forced an assent that might justly be reluctant 
on the part of Many Jane's mother. I was all the more 
rejoiced, because I felt that I had escaped, I knew not by 
what distance, from a pit-fall of my own digging. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. J\ 

A few days before my marriage, my mother-in-law, Mrs. 
Maria Barr Warfield, handed me an open letter addressed 
to her daughter, my fiancee, but placed in her own hands 
by General Leslie Combs, a friend of the family. Declarey 
was a very popular physician of Louisville, Kentucky, and 
was a suitor also of Mary Jane Warfield. The letter was 
depreciatory of my character, though containing nothing of 
serious allegation against me. It should have been thrown 
into the fire, and nothing shown to me. But, as the matter 
stood, I felt not only indignant at such secret and ungentle- 
manly conduct, but was compelled by a sense of honor to 
vindicate myself. So, taking my "best man," James S. Rol- 
lins, with me, I went to Louisville, procured a small black 
hickory stick, and, finding Declarey at the Louisville hotel 
steps, I invited him into the cross street; and showing him 
the letter, which he read, I asked him if he had any expla- 
nations or apology to make. He remained silent. So I 
caned him severely — Rollins keeping the crowd off till he 
was sufficiently punished. Then, telling him that I would 
be found at his hotel, where the event occurred, I retired 
with Rollins to my room. In a few hours I received a 
challenge from Declarey, which I promptly accepted. De- 
clarey was about ten years older than myself, and of my 
own size in weight and stature, whilst his reputation for 
courage stood high. The terms were soon arranged. We 
were to meet next day in Indiana, near the Ohio River, at 
a named place and hour. Both parties were promptly on 
the ground. But the news had spread, and a large crowd 
was already there, and more persons continually coming; 
so that all parties agreed to defer the meeting to a more 
favorable time and place — first, on the same side of the 
river, and that failing also, we returned to Louisville, it 
being nearly dark on our arrival there. I was to be mar- 
ried the next evening; and Lexington, in those days, by 
stage, was a whole day's journey away. Declarey's friends 
proposed finally to set first the next day for a meeting, 
and then to fight in the city that night; all of which my 



72 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

friend Rollins peremptorily refused. Declarey was in his 
own home ; was then, I think, a member of the Kentucky 
Legislature, or, at least, had been. He had, as followers, 
a large number of roughs, as a matter of course ; and if 
it was not fair to ask of me a fight in the day-time, it was 
more unfair to ask a fight in the city at night, when secrecy 
would be impossible. We had given them a fair chance for 
a fight; and if the crowd prevented it, it was Declarey's 
crowd. Rollins and myself had hardly an acquaintance in 
the city at that time. Louisville was provincial in com- 
parison with Lexington, and Rollins and myself were 
strangers there. If the time and place of the fight were 
known, it could not have been the fault of our side. For 
a man to leave a newly-married wife to return to fight her 
rejected suitor was too absurd for even the fool-code. So 
Rollins gave notice that we would leave for Lexington by 
stage next morning; and, all negotiations being at an end, 
Declarey had his usual right of offensive attack in personal 
rencounter. The next day Rollins and I, no attack being 
made, took the stage ; and it was quite late in the night 
before we reached the "Meadows," where I was duly mar- 
ried. Declarey, my friends wrote me, denounced me as a 
coward, and said I was beneath his notice ; that he would 
not pursue me to Lexington, but, if ever he met me in 
life, he would "cowhide me." Now, the cowhide was a 
whip made of twisted raw cowhide, and was used to punish 
slaves in all the South ; and whilst the cane could be used 
without utter disgrace, to be " cowhided " was a doom of 
eternal infamy, which nothing but blood could wash away! 
So run the laws of the fool-code. 

Mrs. Warfield, when the Declarey affair had concluded, 
did nothing to aggravate the situation ; but, as time wore 
on, Mrs. Allen's warning words for the first time beo-an to 
impress themselves upon my memory, and I had a sus- 
picion that madam was thus willing to avenge her wounded 
pride. So the matter did not rest there ; and I determined 
to give Declarey a full test of his manhood. So I set off, 



A 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 73 

ostensibly for Cincinnati and St. Louis; and, after spend- 
ing a very agreeable time with my friends, the Longworths 
and others, at Cincinnati, and visiting my wife's connec- 
tions, the Strothers, in St. Louis, I came to my point of 
issue, Louisville. Taking lodgings elsewhere, about din- 
ner-time I sauntered down alone to Declarey's hotel. Not 
finding him at table, I asked the servants about his habits, 
and they told me that he was irregular in his hours ; but 
that he would no doubt drop in very soon after dinner, as 
was his custom when he missed the regular hour. So, 
being well armed, I lounged about the hotel till I sup- 
posed he might have arrived. The dining-room had a 
large colonnade, as was then the custom in the building 
of large rooms. I was leaning alone against one of these, 
when Declarey, having entered and finished his meal, rose 
up, and for the first time saw me. I had my eyes fixed 
steadily upon him. He turned pale, and retreated without 
addressing me. I staid in Louisville for a day or more ; 
and, Declarey making no demonstrations, I returned to 
Lexington. The next day in the evening, he committed 
suicide, by cutting his arteries. "Thus doth conscience 
make cowards of us all." Mrs. Warfield's imprudence — 
if nothing worse — caused the death of this man; and also 
sowed the seeds of alienation and distrust in her own 
household, which in time bore fruit. 

To_nrepare mvself for political life, which was con- 
genial to my taste, I studied law in the Transylvania Law 
School, after my return from Yale, but never took out 
license to practice. As soon as I was eligible, in 1835, 
I was chosen a member of the Kentucky House of Rep- 
resentatives, from Madison County. I was beaten the next 
year, on account of my vote for internal improvements. 
But I was returned in 1837 with an increased vote. This 
was a tobacco-raising county at that time ; and an old 
cynic, whom Bingham has made noted in the " County 
Election," as one of his group of characters, said they 
must "top me, and then let me spread." So they topped 



74 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

me in 1836; but the same cultivators of the plant never 
liked me any the better after the topping than before. 
Such is poor human nature — to pull down all who aspire 
to ascend higher than themselves. 

Having served two years in the Legislature, in which 
I began to develop my opposition to slavery, the slave- 
power, under the call of Robert Wickliffe, of Fayette 
County, and father of my school-mate, Howard Wickliffe, 
the then largest slave-holder in the State, commenced the 
agitation of slavery against the Liberals ; first through the 
press, and then against myself and Robert J. Breckinridge 
upon the stump. These movements were, of course, 
against me, as Breckinridge had retired from the field of 
politics, and taken refuge in the Church. So, as my family 
disliked country life, I determined on Lexington as a 
residence — a more central place. I there moved my 
headquarters — retaining my house and lands in Madison 
County ; and there made my home, by purchasing the 
Morton residence and grounds — the most elegant in the 
city. 

I became once more a candidate, in 1840, for the 
Legislature. Fayette then returned three members — two 
of the candidates, Curd and Curl, were my friends; so 
the contest fell between me and Robert Wickliffe, jr., the 
son of Robert Wickliffe. Young Wickliffe was a man of 
fine stature and intellect, and well educated at the best 
schools of the nation. He was of equal fortune with my- 
self, or, at least, his father could make him so; and he 
was then the only living son. Thus was made up one 
of the most exciting canvasses that Fayette had witnessed 
for many years. But I, a new comer, triumphed ; my two 
friends, Messrs Clayton Curl and John Curd, being also 
tlected with me. 

So far I had made a good start in my chosen career; 
for, at the last session in which I served, my friends said 
that, if I would refuse to go into caucus, the Democrats, I 
being a Whig, would elect me Speaker of the House. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 75 

This was very flattering; but, after mature thought, I con- 
cluded it would be better in the long run to stand by the 
usages ol the party, than to gratify the desire for a tem- 
porary honor. So, of course, my opponent, Charles More- 
head, afterward Governor of the State, was chosen by the 
caucus, and elected speaker; he being an old politician, 
and a citizen of Frankfort — the seat of government. 

I have never been an admirer of military generals. 
Those who have built up, not those who have destroyed 
the nations, have with me ever been the heroes. When 
generals have led the way to the liberty and development 
of the resources of a people, certainly the patriotic leader 
deserves the admiration and gratitude of mankind. My 
reputation as a "fighting man," as the phrase goes, I 
have never gloried in. On the contrary, it has always 
been a source of annoyance to me ; overshadowing that 
to which I most aspired — a high and self-sacrificing moral 
courage — where the mortal was to be sacrificed to the 
immortal. And, after a calm review of my whole life, 
I can truly say that I have never acted on the offensive ; 
but have confined myself by will and act to the defensive. 
The case of T — , in St. Joseph's College, was only an 
apparent exception; for there I was at my own risk de- 
fending the rights of others — the weak against the strong. 
Courage, by a wise law of nature, is of great worth, in 
the preservation of the State, the family, and the indi- 
vidual person; but it too often degenerates into offensive 
brutality, and then it is more a vice than a virtue. How 
often have I been mortified at the vulgar view taken of 
my moral action. When John G. Fee was maltreated 
/and driven by violence from preaching near Crab Orchard, 
in Lincoln County, because he opposed slavery, I made 
an appointment to speak in the same place myself on 
the slavery issue. If we were not allowed to speak freely 
according to our constitutional rights, our whole scheme 
for emancipation failed. I therefore felt that it was neces- 
sary to set my life upon the cast of the die. And there, 



j6 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

surrounded by armed followers, I took the ground which 
was much commented upon, and noted in the nation. 
The legend goes, and was so illustrated by an engraving, 
that I placed a pistol on the book-board, and a Bible by 
its side, saying: "For those who obey the rules of right, 
and the sacred truths of the Christian religion, I appeal 
to this Book ; and to those who only recognize the law 
of force, here is my defense," laying my hand upon my 
pistol. Thus related, it would seem that I had made a 
prepared and threatened exhibition of my courage and 
prowess, when, in fact, I was exerting all my powers of 
appeal and argument to avoid a conflict; for such avoid- 
ance was victory. Had I laid my pistol on the book- 
board, some enemy was most likely to seize it. I had 
my carpet-bag with my arms and notes, as usual, at my 
feet, unseen ; and the Bible on the board was always left 
there in the country meeting-houses. 

Again, as the slave-power of Lincoln, in meeting at 
the county capital, Stanford, had passed resolutions threat- 
ening with death the discussion of the slavery question — 
more in reference to myself than to Fee — I at once made 
an appointment to speak in Stanford. This, silly people 
thought, was useless bravado. But our strength was a 
moral strength, and must rest, like physical battles, upon 
successful defense. No body knew this better than the 
slave-holders. So, as they had made an issue with both 
Fee and myself, they saw that they had placed themselves 
in a fatal position ; that if I spoke with safety, their policy 
of intimidation was broken forever; and the boldest of 
them feared the result, in a commonwealth where so small 
a portion of the voters were slave-holders, if I was put 
to death in the exercise of admitted constitutional rights. 
They, therefore, knowing that I would speak or die, sent 
a committee of their most prominent men from Lincoln to 
my house, thirty miles away, with instructions to approach 
me in a friendly spirit, and advise me of the dangers of 
my attempt. I received the committee with cordiality at 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. *]>] 

my own house, where I now write; and, after hearing 
them with respectful attention, I said: "Gentlemen, say 
to your friends, that I appreciate their kindness in send- 
ing you to advise with me; but, God willing, I shall 
speak in Stanford on the day named." So, as I foresaw, 
there was a square division of opinion on the part of my 
opponents; whilst my friends were solid. The upshot was 
that the court-house, being one of the largest in the State, 
was crowded to overflowing. The excitement was intense, 
but I was heard without a single interruption. This was 
a signal victory to me and my cause; for, if I was vic- 
torious in the blue-grass region, the very stronghold of 
slavery, I might claim an easy triumph elsewhere. 

It was in the same court-house, in 1872, that I made 
my speech in favor of the autonomy of the States, by the 
invitation of the same men, where I was received with 
unbounded enthusiasm. The Cincinnati Commercial, and 
other leading journals of all parties, sent their reporters ; 
and my speech, like most of my efforts in oratory, as re- 
ported and unrevised, will be published in my " Writings 
and Speeches." 

So long as my noble friend, Fee, stood on constitu- 
tional ground with myself, he shared my security; but, 
when he followed the Abolition idea of ignoring the Con- 
stitution, and was reinforced by adventurers using force 
also, he and, I believe, forty persons were driven by vio- 
lence from Berea. It was claimed by Fee's enemies at 
the time, that I approved, or, at least, assented to, this 
course ; all of which was untrue. Fee voluntarily took 
his own ground, and I took mine. To have followed him 
would have been disastrous to my life, and those of my 
followers. He was at first a non-resistant ; but, further 
along, allowed his friends to use force. I had determined 
to stand and defend my position to the death. Time 
proved that I was right. 

So " revenons a nos motdons" — the fight with Sprigg. 
I give these accounts because all such have been misrep- 



yS MEMOIRS, WRITINGS^ AND SPEECHES 

resented by friends and foes; and my object is to simply 
set forth the facts. 

When I was in the Legislature of Kentucky, Sprigg 
was an old representative from Shelby County — "a good 
fellow," as the phrase goes, but quite quarrelsome, and the 
hero of many fights. He seemed to think himself called 
upon to have a "muss" with me especially. For, as my 
mother says in one of her letters to me, I was not always 
mild in my mode of statement. Some words passed in 
the House, and it was thought that Sprigg would chal- 
lenge me. As other fights of mine were tragic, so this 
one was quite comic. Sprigg was a dear lover of the 
State beverage — "old Bourbon" — which, as elsewhere, 
here was apt to loosen the tongue. So, on one occasion, 
he revealed to me, confidentially, how he had always been 
triumphant in personal rencounters. He approached his 
antagonist, when a fight was inevitable, in a mild and 
conciliatory manner, dealt him a sharp blow, and followed 
that up with unrelenting severity till he was whipped. 
"Thus," said he, "size and strength amount to nothing 
against mind!" Sprigg had no doubt forgotten that he 
had ever revealed to me his system of tactics. So, when 
the House adjourned, as we both boarded at the same 
hotel, and the weather was cool, I found Sprigg sitting 
on the far side of the fire-grate, and several members of 
the Legislature present in the same room. As soon as 
Sprigg, who was evidently awaiting my arrival, saw me, 
he advanced past all these gentlemen toward me, with 
a pleasant look, without speaking. I remembered his 
methods ; and, when he got within reach, without a word 
on either side, I gave him a severe blow in the face, and 
brought him staggering to the floor. As fast as he would 
rise — for I played with him as a cat with a mouse — I 
repeated my blows ; allowing him always to rise, as I felt 
myself greatly an overmatch for him, and would not strike 
him when down. When the bystanders saw the unequal 
fight, and felt that Sprigg, who was a notorious bully, was 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 79 

fully punished, one of them caught him by the coat-tail 
(fine delicate broad-cloth was then fashionable), and tear- 
ing his coat to the very collar, pulled him away; and 
thus ended the set-to. The upshot was that Sprigg, the 
aggressor, was severely punished — eyes blacked, nose 
bleeding, and coat torn; whilst I stood smiling, without a 
touch. 

Sprigg laid by for several days; and all thought now, 
at least, a duel was inevitable. After a while he ventured 
out, with his eyes marked with wide black rings. Ap- 
proaching me, smiling, with outstretched hand to show 
peace, he said: "Clay, old fellow, here's my hand. I 
taught you my tactics, and you have beaten your master 
at his own game." Of course, I accepted his hand, and 
we remained good friends. Poor Sprigg! he was elected 
to Congress — that school of demoralization — still patron- 
ized "old Bourbon;" and, in a fight with an Irishman, 
lost his eye, or his nose, I do not remember which, and 
that was the last I have ever heard of him. 

In the meantime I was chosen delegate of my Con- 
gressional District, including Madison, my old county, to 
represent the Whigs in the National Convention, held at 
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1839-40. I was, of course, 
with all my State, in favor of my friend and kinsman, 
Henry Clay, for President. But Gen. Wm. H. Harrison 
was made the nominee, with John Tyler, of Virginia, as 
vice-presidential candidate ; and the nomination was made 
unanimous. Here I first saw Horace Greeley, with whom, 
in after-life, I became so intimately associated. He had 
not 'then reached distinction; but I shall ever remember 
his large head, thinly covered with auburn hair, approach- 
ing white, and his boyish, innocent-looking, and amiable 
face, which indicated genius and great simplicity of char- 
acter. Thaddeus Stevens was also a delegate from his 
district, in Pennsylvania, and made quite an impression 
upon the Convention with one of his characteristic, bold 
speeches, such as made him famous in the chaotic times 

I • 



80 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

of the Civil War, and pushed him to the front as the 
leader of the war-party. 

I did my part in the canvass for Harrison ; and, in due 
time, began my home-fight with Wickliffe. By reference to 
my speeches in the pending session of the Kentucky Legis- 
lature, it will be seen that I was drawn into open war 
with the slave-power. They knew their strength, and wisely 
determined to crush all liberal thought in word, or pro- 
gression in action, in the bud. 

Robert J. Breckenridge, as I said, had already fallen in 
this cause, and been driven into the Church. J. G. Birney 
had been forced by violence from Danville into the free 
State of Ohio ; and Dr. Lewis Marshall, the father of 
Thomas F. Marshall, and brother of Humphrey Marshall, 
who had the duel with Henry Clay, and others, had either 
died, been silenced, or exiled from the State. And they 
thought to make short work of me, also. But the sequel 
shows they were doomed themselves. So I entered the 
canvass with the Patrick Henry flag flying ; and on every 
stump boldly denounced slavery to the death. 

Mr. Clay had voted for me in the last election, and 
voted for me again ; but, before I was again a candidate, 
he very frankly told me he thought it best to give way 
for the present, and await a more favorable time. This I 
respectfully considered ; but I saw that the time for pru- 
dent attack would never come; and that with me, at least, 
in was now or never — now and forever! The habit was 
with "the boys," with whom I was the favorite, to make 
torch-light processions, as a show of strength ; and the 
slave-party imitated our example. The greatest slave- 
holders from town and country came to Lexington and 
joined the processions. Inflammatory speeches were made 
on their part, and met with equal force on ours. So 
that, at length, Wickliffe introduced my wife's name in a 
speech, to which I took exception as inadmissible ; and I 
challenged him. We met near Louisville. Col. Wm. R. 
McKee, who fell at Buena Vista, was my second; and 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 8 1 

Albert Sidney Johnston, who fell at Shiloh, when Grant 
had retired for security under his gun-boats, and the 
Union cause was saved by Generals Buell and Nelson, was 
Wickliffe's. Dr. Alexander Marshall, brother of Thomas 
F., was my surgeon; and I do not remember, but I think, 
Dr. Caldwell was the surgeon of Wickliffe. We fired at 
ten paces, at the word; and both missed. Raising my 
pistol up perpendicularly, I stood still, and demanded a 
second fire. But the good sense of our seconds prevailed, 
and it was decreed that the matter should be dropped. 
No apology was made on either side, and no reconcilia- 
tion was proposed; and we left the ground enemies, as 
we came. 

At that time I was young, but I knew full well that 
the least show of the "white feather" was not only polit- 
ical but physical death. So it was with me here, rather 
policy than impulse. I wanted to show those who lived 
by force, that it would be met, at all times, and in all 
places, with force. But the occasion and its effects are 
numbered with the past. And I now do Wickliffe the 
justice to say that he was a gallant fellow ; and I regret 
that I ever did so foolish a thing. And the not being 
satisfied with a shot which covered the point of honor 
would have brought upon me the ridicule of a fight upon 
such frivolous grounds, but for the one mistake. 

We were all young together; but by his leaving the 
field, under a renewed call for a fire, I had Wickliffe in a 
bad position. Though I believe he would have stood again 
if so advised. I think McKee and Johnston saw the folly 
of further results — I being a married man, and Wickliffe 
being single — that their motives were right, but their 
course hasty, so far as Wickliffe was concerned. So, 
although I was in the wrong, and, had the duel resulted 
otherwise, would have been worsted by it, I was rather 
helped in the canvass, instead of losing ground. The 
upshot was, that I was victor in the legal votes, but 
beaten by unfair judges and corrupt methods ; having all 
Vol. I.— 6 



82 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

the judges and all the officers of the election against me. 
Nothing daunted, I looked sternly ahead, kept my friends 
well together, and awaited events. 

The result of the duel convinced me of the absurdity 
of the whole thing. Besides, my time was too important 
to lose it in such trifles ; and, as I had reason to believe 
that many fools would be continually challenging me, I 
determined to have no more of them. I so gave out ; 
but I resolved to defend myself if attacked, as I had oc- 
casion to do afterward — standing upon the great law of 
self-preservation and legal self-defense. A duel might 
result in but little or no bodily harm; but a rencounter 
with me meant death to one or the other party. And so 
no man has better illustrated Shakespeare's 

"Thrice armed is he who hath his quarrel just." 

Robert Wickliffe, jr., having now an open field, became 
the candidate the next year for the National House of 
Representatives — Garrett Davis of Bourbon being the op- 
position candidate. Henry Clay having voted for me two 
successive times against Wickliffe (for Clay always voted), 
and his avowed sentiments on the slavery question, had 
alienated some of his old followers from his leadership. 
So R. Wickliffe, sr., and his son, now headed a new fac- 
tion. Of course, what influence I had with my compact 
body of personal friends — among laboring men mostly — 
went with me for Davis. Wickliffe, in canvassing, was in 
the habit of reading a "hand-bill" in his own behalf, 
without naming another "hand-bill" which refuted his 
friend's statement. In Garrett Davis's absence, I took 
the liberty to interrupt him, and, by his permission, to say: 
"That hand-bill," which he had just read, "was proven 
untrue by another of good authority." He then would re- 
sume his remarks. After this had occurred several times, 
he sent for Samuel M. Brown, late of New Orleans, who 
was post-office traveling-agent under Charles A. Wickliffe, 
his relative, then Postmaster-General under John Tyler. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 83 

Brown was soon on the ground. He was an old Whig, 
of social character, strong physique, and, in a word, a 
political bully. He it was who had the fight with Thos. 
Moore, the Democratic Congressman at Harrodsburg; 
and of whom it was said that he had "forty fights, and 
never lost a battle." At Russell's Cave, in Fayette 
County, when Mr. Wickliffe repeated the usual role, I 
interrupted him again, as before, saying: "That hand-bill 
has been proven untrue." At the moment, Brown gave 
me the "damned lie," and struck me simultaneously with 
his umbrella. I knew the man, and that it meant a 
death-struggle. I at once drew my Bowie-knife ; but, 
before I could strike, I was seized from behind, and 
borne by force about fifteen feet from Brown, who, being 
now armed with a Colt's revolver, cried: "Clear the 
way, and let me kill the damned rascal." The way was 
speedily cleared, and I stood isolated from the crowd. 
Now, as Brown had his pistol bearing upon me, I had 
either to run or advance. So, turning my left side to- 
ward him, with my left arm covering it, so as to protect 
it to that extent, I advanced rapidly on him, knife in 
hand. Seeing I was coming, he knew very well that 
nothing but a fatal and sudden shot could save him. So 
he held his fire ; and, taking deliberate aim, just as I was 
in arm's reach, he fired at my heart. I came down upon 
his head with a tremendous blow, which would have split 
open an ordinary skull ; but Brown's was as thick as that 
of an African. This blow laid his skull open about three 
inches to the brain, indenting it, but not breaking the 
textures ; but it so stunned him that he was no more able 
to fire, but feebly attempted to seize me. The conspira- 
tors now seized me, and held both arms above my elbows, 
which only allowed me to strike with the fore-arm, as 
Brown advanced upon me. I was also struck with hickory 
sticks and chairs. But, finding I was likdy to get loose, 
they threw Brown over the stone-fence. This fence, which 
inclosed the yard near the steep descent to the cave and 



84 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

spring, was built of limestone, about two feet high on the 
upper side, but perhaps seven or eight on the lower side. 
So Brown had a terrible fall, which ended the contest. 

Raising my bloody knife, I said: "I repeat that the 
hand-bill was proven a falsehood ; and I stand ready to de- 
fend the truth." But, neither Mr. Wickliffe nor any of the 
conspirators taking up my challenge, some of my friends, 
recovering from their lethargy, took me by the arm (see- 
ing where Brown's bullet had entered,) to the dwelling- 
house ; and, on opening my vest and shirt-bosom, found 
only a red spot over my heart, but no wound. On exam- 
ination it was found that the ball, as I pulled up the scab- 
bard of my Bowie-knife, in drawing the blade, had entered 
the leather near the point, which was lined with silver, and 
was there lodged. 

Thus Providence, or fate, reserved me for a better work. 
And when I look back to my many escapes from death, I 
am at times impressed with the idea of the special inter- 
ference of God in the affairs of men ; whilst my cooler 
reason places human events in that equally certain arrange- 
ment of the great moral and physical laws, by which Deity 
may be said to be ever directing the affairs of men. Cer- 
tain it is that he who stands on the right may often hold 
his own against hosts in arms. 

Afterward, I happened to be at the Bourbon Agricul- 
tural Fair, of which my brother, Brutus J., was president. 
Several hundred gamblers had gathered in mass in the 
immense amphitheater, and interrupted the show by call- 
ing to the judges. The directory ordered the ribbons to 
be omitted, so that no bets could be determined. Where- 
upon the roughs, headed by a noted bully, cried out : 
"Close the doors, and stop the fair;" and, at the same 
time, made a rush toward the entering doors. As the 
mob advanced, I said: "This ground belongs to the cor- 
porators. I stand in defense of their legal rights. I dare 
any man to touch the doors." They were not touched. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 85 

Brown had his skull cut to the brain in several places ; 
one ear cut nearly off, his nose slit, and one eye cut out ; 
and many other wounds. Had the rencounter taken place 
between two ordinary citizens, no notice whatever would 
have been taken of it by the grand jury; but, as I was 
odious to the slave-holders, they improved all the chances 
to weaken and ruin me. I was indicted for mayhem. 
Henry Clay and John Speed Smith were my counsel and 
defenders ; both volunteering their services. Brown, out- 
raged at his being thrown over the fence, and deserted, 
was my principal witness. He proved that there was a 
consultation at Ashton's (hotel-keeper,) between himself, 
Wickliffe, Prof. J. C. Cross of the Transylvania Medical 
School, Jacob Ashton, and Ben. Wood, a police bully; that 
the pistol with which I was shot was loaded in advance ; 
that he was to bring on the affray, and they were to aid ; 
that they four went in the same hack to Russell's Cave, 
and there all took part in the fight. 



CHAPTER V. 



Tried for Mayhem. — Voluntarily defended by Henry Clay and John 
Speed Smith. — Brown's evidence proves a conspiracy to kill me. — 
Sketch of Henry Clay. — A few sentences from his Address to the 
Jury. — Declared not Guilty. — Death of Brown. — The State of 
Parties. — Henry Clay and the Presidential contest of 1844. — Daniel 
Webster and Henry Clay. — The Canvass in Boston. — In New York. — 
Result adverse to H. Clay. — He unjustly denounces the Abolition- 
ists. — My Reply. 



HUMAN nature is much the same under all forms of 
government. Power is generally force; and there is 
but little sentimentalism in that, whether it be in an au- 
tocrat or a despotic majority in a republic ; and which, in 
such cases, is, when uncovered from its mask, again an 
autocracy. So I, instead of Brown, was prosecuted. 

By our laws, shooting with intent to kill is a criminal 
offense, punishable with confinement in the penitentiary. 
That offense, in this case, was aggravated by a conspiracy 
to kill me, which intensified the criminal intent, and made 
the facts incontrovertible; yet Brown was not prosecuted, 
but I, who had stood upon the eternal law of self-defense, 
was held to answer for mayhejn, or maiming the person, 
by cutting Brown's ear, and destroying his eye. 

Henry Clay and John Speed Smith, my brother-in-law, 
a great orator also, as said, volunteered to defend me. 
Smith's speech, as he was aroused by the comparison with 
so great a man as Clay, was a very able one — fully equal, 
if not superior, to Clay's. He was the uncle of James 
Speed, Lincoln's Attorney-General, and father of the Rev. 
General Green Clay Smith, better known, perhaps, than 
his father, but not his equal as an orator. 
86 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 87 

But the reader is interested more in Henry Clay, and 
I shall speak of him only. Generally, when a man is 
alive, and his person and character familiar to every one, 
but little is said of them. And, after his death, but few- 
are left who, by personal contact, ^are able to sketch the 
lost portraiture. As Henry Clay is one of those men who 
"are not for a day, but for all time," I shall here, as else- 
where, speak of him from my own knowledge. 

It is a remarkable fact, but well known, that Mr. Clay, 
as a criminal advocate, never lost a case. It is, therefore, 
a subject of interest to see what were the causes of this 
extraordinary success. In consequence of the existence of 
slavery, and the frontier-life of Kentuckians, the men of 
talent and character were the natural leaders ; and the in- 
fluence once gained was ever potent in all directions. Of 
all men whom I have known, Clay had more of what is 
called, in modern times, magnetism. He was, as is well 
known, quite tall, yet commanding and very graceful in 
manner and movement. He had the most wonderful voice 
in compass, purity, and sweetness ; and which, with the 
whole science of gesticulation and manner, he sedulously 
cultivated. Dr. Joseph Rodes Buchanan, the celebrated 
scientist and philosopher, now of Boston, in his treatise on 
"Moral Education," throws new light upon the voice, and 
its influence on the passions of men. Without agree- 
ing with him upon some of his religious, and even scien- 
tific views, I feel the force of his observations upon the 
influence of the human voice. In this Clay had a great 
source of power. There was also a natural common sense, 
which, in him and in Abraham Lincoln, outweighed all the 
culture in books of their great rivals. Now, without at- 
tempting a definition of "common sense," I regard it as 
a faculty of observing and standing close to the normal 
laws of mind and body ; which laws operate with steady 
influence in all the mental and physical activities of the 
common or average man. Thus Mr. Clay, in the back- 
woods, where men are seen more in their real characters 



88 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

than in older societies and cities, was better able to un- 
derstand them, (and men are at bottom much the same 
every-where,) or any audience elsewhere. I but touch 
upon these things here, as I have spoken of them else- 
where ; and conclude by the remark, that Mr. Clay had a 
very highly developed nervous structure and temperament, 
by which, as in war, all his forces could be at once rapidly 
concentrated on one point of attack. 

After stating clearly the grounds of vindication, which 
was simply self-defense, and knowing that abstract justice 
on one side was not enough, Mr. Clay ventured to counter- 
act the intense prejudice against me, by appealing to pas- 
sions of like intensity in a community where sentiment is 
everything when once free to act. He generally stood 
near his audience as possible, especially when it was a 
jury. William T. Barry I have seen move eight or ten 
feet in speaking — rapidly advancing and then retreating — 
when the climax of his syllogistic argument was reached. 
I learn that Rufus Choate followed a like course, at least 
in intensity of physical motion. And I have seen poor 
imitators of such men use not only the forward advance, 
but a side vibration as well, like a chained coon or bear; 
and even come down from the platform, like a Methodist 
preacher at a camp-meeting revival, among the auditors. 

But all this is nonsense, which may please the igno- 
rant; yet, as Shakespeare has it, must "make the judi- 
cious grieve." Clay was too good an artist for this. He 
generally stood still, gesticulating with graceful movement 
of one or both hands ; and, when in the most intense 
force, advancing a few steps forward only. In my own 
speaking, I stand near my audience as possible — prefer- 
ring to have the rostrum not higher than the heads of 
my auditors. I make few gestures ; never change from 
my pla,ce, and use my voice only to intensify my highest 
thought. 

At this distance of time, I can hardly venture to give 
more than a thought or two of a speech which was to 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 89 

me, of all others, of most interest, and most likely to be 
remembered : 

"The question which this jury of freemen is called upon their 
honor and conscience to decide, is not whether the political views 
and sentiments of the prisoner were just or not, nor whether they 
agreed or disagreed with yours; nor yet, if they were just, whether 
ill-timed or out of place. You are bound, on your oaths, to say, 
was Clay acting in his constitutional and legal right? Was he ag- 
gressive, or resting peaceably in the security of the laws which 
guard alike the safety of you, and me, and him ? And yet more : 
Did he occupy even higher ground than all human enactments — 
the eternal laws of self-defense — which come only of God, and 
which none but He can annul, judge, or punish? Standing, as he 
did, without aiders or abettors, and without popular sympathy ; 
with the fatal pistol of conspired murderers pointed at his heart, 
would you have had him meanly and cowardly fly? Or would you 
have had him to do just what he did do — there stand in defense, 
or there fall?" 

And then turning partly toward me, with the most pathetic 
voice, broken but emphatic, and raising himself with the 
most imposing personality and dignity that ever an Ameri- 
can has attained, he said: "And, if he had not, he would 
not have been worthy of the name which ]ie bears ! ' ' 
********* 

After Brown's evidence, and the very able speeches of 
Messrs. Clay and Smith in my defense, the jury had only 
to retire, write a verdict of not guilty, and return it to the 
court. Now, when Brown made his confession, I thought 
that I should be equally magnanimous ; so I sent him word 
by a friend that I thanked him for the service he had ren- 
dered me, and was willing to drop the whole enmity, and 
be friends! This he silently declined. So, after he re- 
covered from his wounds, terribly disfigured, I expected 
another deadly rencounter, and was ever prepared. 

I met him twice afterward. I was sitting one day 
in D. C. Wickliffe's office — editor of the Kentucky Re- 
porter — with some friends, when Brown came in. I rose 



90 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

up, and stood ready for defense. But Brown, seeing me, 
and saying a few words, retired. In a few days I met 
him, passing on the foot-path across the street from one 
square to the other, about midway. We passed each 
other, both giving part of the road ; and I never saw him 
again. Not long afterward, he was blown up in a steam- 
boat near Louisville, and was lost. Of all the men I ever 
encountered in personal conflict Brown was the bravest. 
Nor must outsiders take too unfavorable a view of the 
fight; for at that time few men were my equal in such 
conflicts; and both Wickliffe and Brown had reason to 
believe that I would be backed by some of my friends, at 
least. I say this in justice to the dead; and men of one 
country can not always be judged by the moral standard 
of another. And Mr. Wickliffe might well be pardoned 
for leaving others to enter a congenial, personal conflict 
with one whom he had beaten before the people, when 
now he was entering a higher field of ambition. Davis 
was, however, elected; and Wickliffe was sent Minister 
Resident to some one of the Italian courts. He married 
abroad, and died early; and even I, who had once had 
strong friendship in the family, felt sympathy for his un- 
timely end. 

When I went afterward to the Mexican War, Mason 
Brown, Sam. Brown's son, was Second Lieutenant of the 
"Old Infantry," of 1812 memory; and as I had once an 
opportunity, at Saltillo, to do him a personal favor, he 
was ever afterward my friend. Some of my enemies, who 
feared me, tried to incite another son, then living in Cali- 
fornia, to a personal rencounter with me ; but the Rev. 
Robert J. Breckinridge and Mason Brown interfering, it 
came to nothing. I never saw him. It is rather curious ; 
and among the letters hereafter to be published, is one 
from Mason Brown, at a later period in our lives. Such 
is the inconstancy of fortune. 

Since the adoption of the Federal Constitution of 1789, 
there has, under varying names, been substantially but two 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 9 1 

parties in the United States — the one in favor of a strong 
central government, and the other favoring the more popu- 
lar rule of the States. The first embraced mostly the 
wealth and culture of the Republic; and the last the 
poorer and laboring classes, under cultivated leaders. At 
the time I entered political life, the central party was 
called Whig, and the centrifugal Democratic. Of the 
last, Andrew Jackson had become the leader; and of the 
first, Henry Clay. Mr. Clay was the great statesman of 
his times, developing the American system, which included 
a tariff for revenue and protection of home manufactures, a 
national currency, and internal improvements — embracing 
roads, canals, harbors, break-waters, and all that. The 
Democrats, of whom John C. Calhoun had more and more 
become thinker and leader, opposed these policies. But 
underlying and over-riding gradually all party policies was 
slavery. 

This element of society, by which the master held ab- 
solute power over his slave, was alien to all the principles 
and policies of a Democratic Republic. Inheriting the in- 
stitution from our British ancestors, our fathers felt the 
shame of such tyranny, whilst proclaiming the universal 
right of all men in a Declaration of Independence. Mostly 
in numbers and talent aspiring to its speedy extinction, they 
would not put the word in our Constitution, although it was 
indirectly recognized. After 1808, no slaves were to be 
imported into the United States ; and, to discourage its 
existence, only three-fifths of the slaves were counted in 
the basis of representation. When made free, they would 
count man for man, as in general citizenship. Under these 
political discouragements, and the growing liberalism of the 
age, slavery was fast declining, and would no doubt have 
peaceably disappeared had not the cotton-plant, which our 
lands and climate so much favored, and the invention of 
the cotton-gin given new value to slave-labor, in a climate 
where the black man seemed to be the only possible cul- 
tivator. 



92 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

This new interest consolidated was what was termed the 
Slave-Power, which united all elements — moral, religious, 
and political — into a compact and inexorable force, which 
so far forth absorbed or over-rode all party principles and 
policies. This produced an awakening of the consciences 
of men, and the Abolition Party, which, in turn, made 
all things secondary to liberation. They severed them- 
selves from Church and State, and refused to recognize 
the Constitution — declaring it an "agreement with Hell, 
and a covenant with Death." This nucleus of moral pro- 
test against slavery, however illogical in a political sense, 
aroused the better sentiments of the nation ; for the slave- 
power was put upon its necessity of disproving that slavery 
was the "sum of all villainies." These were the aggressive 
forces which ultimately drew all others into their train ; till 
the Free-Soil Party, and next the Republican Party, stood 
on one side, and the Pro-Slavery Party on the other, under 
the banner of False Democracy. And thus was brought 
on the Civil War, and the overthrow of Slavery. 

The sequel proved that in reality there was very little 
anti-slavery sentiment in the American people, either be- 
fore or since the war. But the aggressions of the slave- 
power made it plain that the freedom of the white races, 
as well as that of the black, was involved in the contest; 
and that practically all the States must be free or slave. 

In the meantime Great Britain, France, and the leading 
nations had abolished slavery, and the slave trade. Por- 
tugal, Spain, Brazil, and Russia, struggling in the same 
direction, it seemed that the United States, outside of the 
barbarian world, were the only defenders of slavery, per 
se, and its avowed propagandism. Thus it will be seen 
that civilization advances in the sum of public thought; 
whilst it only remains to the superior organizations of the 
heroic few to give utterance and fruitage to great princi- 
ples underlying human happiness. 

Henry Clay, having been beaten in the Whig Conven- 
tion, at Harrisburg, in 1840, by Harrison, from the defec- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 93 

tion of John Tyler, who became President on Harrison's 
decease, was at once thrown to the head of his party 
again, in his old leadership. So he had no difficulty in 
getting the nomination at Baltimore, in 1844. By my de- 
feat on the slavery issue, I was disarmed from giving any 
body help in the slave States ; but it greatly increased my 
power in the free States. I at once received a vast num- 
ber of letters from Whigs, and other admirers, to come 
North, and advocate Clay's and the Whig cause. I was 
also honored by a great number of literary and political 
societies, by being of them elected a member. But, Mr. 
Clay having advised me not to run against Wickliffe in 
1 84 1, I determined, before entering on the canvass, to con- 
sult him. I did so ; and he told me to go. So I went. 

As I propose to avoid, rather than connect, my "Mem- 
oirs" with the general political history of the times, which 
is already so full, and a "twice-told tale;" and as my po- 
litical action will be best studied in the second volume of 
this work, in which will appear my " Speeches and Writ- 
ings," I will only say a few words here upon the political 
situation in 1844. 

The South, by a compact minority, ever vigilant and 
unrelenting, had assumed the ascendency in a Union once 
founded upon free principles. They now reversed the 
policy of our fathers, North and South, and determined to 
maintain supreme control of the government, and extend 
slavery first into all the new territory; and finally give it 
sway, at least politically, in the free States themselves. 
So that the issue was inevitable, as I before said, for 
either all slave or all free States. This interest, for brev- 
ity, will be called the slave-power. Thus the moral ele- 
ment of the North was centered in the Garrisonian- 
Liberty or Abolition Party ; whilst the far-seeing political 
minds contended for self-government, and republican su- 
premacy. These were the dividing banners, with a large 
political force, as ever in all nations, of a neutral stand- 
ing. Of the slave-power, John C. Calhoun was now the 



94 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 



leader; and of the other force was Henry Clay. The Abo- 
litionists were Disunionists ; the other two parties stood 
in a sliding movement. The Whigs for the Union, with 
or without slavery. The Calhoun Democrats for the 
Union, if possible, with slavery; but, Union or no Union, 
slavery forever. These were the trunks of the three 
growths, with the roots yet intermingling in apparent 
unity. 

There were several causes, then, why I was received in 
the North with universal heartiness and enthusiasm, with- 
out claiming too much personal prowess. First, I was a 
Clay, and near in personal relations with Henry Clay ; so 
that all office-seekers would naturally desire to be in close 
relations with me. Then, in opposing the admission of 
Texas, I set myself squarely with the political interests of 
the North. And last, but not least, I stood upon the 
eternal laws of right against wrong; whilst, unlike the 
Abolition school, I carried with me all the sacred memo- 
ries of our fathers, and all the future and past glories of 
the union of these States. 

Every-where I was received with the wildest enthusi- 
asm — from Ohio to Boston. At Boston, I spoke with 
Webster, Berrien, and others, on the famous old Boston 
Common. It was a magnificent audience. Nowhere in 
the world, outside of New England, and outside of Bos- 
ton even, at that day, could so many fine heads and cul- 
tured faces be seen. At St. Petersburg, where the whole 
aristocracy of a great empire is gathered at some of the 
court balls, a more agreeable assemblage may be looked 
upon ; but hardly more brain development even there. 

This was the second time I had seen Daniel Webster. 
With a massive head, "satanic" eyes, and medium but 
rugged, stalwart body, no such figure has before or since 
illustrated our history. I say "satanic" eyes, for so I 
have heard intelligent women describe them. Let any 
one see the portrait of Webster, as painted by Chester 
Harding, in the Boston Athenaeum, and decide. No doubt 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 95 

Henry Clay was a man of equal genius with Webster; and 
they two were the leading figures during all their lives. 
In whatever assemblage of men, at home or abroad, these 
two men entered, all eyes acknowledged their supremacy. 
Webster had all the early advantages of the highest intel- 
lectual culture, and continual association with thoughtful 
men. As a lawyer, where generalization is the first quality, 
he was Clay's superior. His brain was perhaps the largest 
of all his contemporaries ; but it was broader, and ran fully 
into that posterior lobe which Dr. Joseph Rodes Buchanan 
has shown gives action to the sensual and the sensuous ; 
whilst the intellectual and moral centers its force in the 
anterior and high structure of the brain, in which Clay 
excelled. The greatest single speech, I think, in our lan- 
guage, is Webster's defense of the Union in reply to 
Hayne. Webster was like a great wagon that took six 
horses or more to move it ; or he might be compared to 
a huge locomotive, which required much steam to set it 
in motion. The occasion was the greatest — the North 
against the South ; and, greater yet, the North and South 
against the world. No such occasion since the death of 
Demosthenes had occurred in history ; and no such speech 
had been uttered since the times of that greatest of orators. 
Henry Clay was educated more in contact with men 
than with books. He had less generalization, but higher 
instincts and keener sympathies. His brain, though not 
rectangular, was high in extent, and wide in the intel- 
lectual faculties. His sentiments were always fine; .and 
his animal passions weak. In eating and drinking, and 
all the animal proclivities, Webster and Clay were wide 
apart. Webster was like a cat-fish — gross and omniver- 
ous ; Clay like the brook-trout — fastidious even in the 
taking of the gilded fly. So far as chastity is concerned, 
I think the obligations of religion and morality rest alike 
on both sexes ; but practically, by the eternal laws, the 
consequences are more grievous when women fall. I trust 
I may always be found advocating the highest morality, 



Q6 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

and the purest religion, however I may fall short of the 
lines laid down by myself. I, then, in plain speech, shall 
cater to no prurient taste ; but the living and the dead 
shall be subject to just criticism. For false is the hea- 
then maxim: "De mortuis nil nisi bonum ;" and I prefer 
it as amended by my friend, Robert Richardson: "Nil 
nisi veritatem." For if the truth is suppressed, we lose 
that incentive to the loftiest action which rests upon pos- 
thumous glory, as foreseen by the living. 

Of Webster's bearing among women, as I know noth- 
ing, I shall say nothing; leaving him as I found him, to 
common fame. But in defense of H. Clay, with whom I 
associated much, I shall repudiate the surmises of the 
frivolous, the envious, and the slanderers.* I was a long 
time in the same city with him ; dined with him at his 
own house, and those of his associates, in Lexington ; 
was with him in the great city of Baltimore ; accompanied 
him in his noted tour through the North-west in 1842, 
where I was often alone with him, as well as in the 
crowd of his friends and intimates, and I never saw him 
perform a disrespectful action, or heard from his lips a 
sensual word in regard to women in my life ; yet his 
sympathy with intellectual, virtuous women was intense, 
and his magnetism preeminent. With homely features, as 
all know, he had the plastic radiation of countenance 
which at times seemed like inspiration. Women were 
crazy in his presence ; and grave men filled with unusual 
enthusiasm. As a popular leader, Henry Clay had no 
equal in his times ; and of all our public men, he began 
life in the front, and there he stayed till death gathered 
him to his fathers. 

I heard Webster at Boston, and again at Lexington, 
Kentucky. He always spoke sense, but never excited en- 
thusiasm. His thoughts were ever upon great speeches; 

* In my letter of 1848, I referred to the causes of his duel with 
John Randolph. — C. 1885. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 97 

Clay's upon great events. Webster used the money of 
his friends, and his friends themselves, as the priests of 
old. " The earth and the fullness thereof belonged to 
the saints ; we are the saints, and therefore these are all 
ours." He reminded me of Homer's Cyclops, who made 
his sheep his companions by day, and supped upon one 
or more of them each night! He even drew upon them 
after death, and made his will full of bequests which were 
to be levied upon his friends. 

Altogether different was Henry Cl?y ; exact and punc- 
tilious in monied matters to a fault. When in generous 
hospitality he had expended his great earnings as a crimi- 
nal advocate and judicious farmer, and went to the banks 
at Lexington to find out his debt, that he might sell 
Ashland and pay it off, he was told that he had none ; 
his unknown friends had, without his knowledge, can- 
celed all. His answer was — tears! It was not wonder- 
ful then, that, in 1844, Webster, who had stood in the 
hateful Tyler administration, however influenced by patri- 
otism, was easily beaten by Clay. He was quite sullen 
then in his support of Clay.* 

Before I spoke, Mr. R. C. Winthrop, member of Con- 
gress, and apparent master of ceremonies, advised me, as 
Mr. Berrien and other slave-owners were present, not to 
touch upon the slavery question. As I had just been de- 
feated foully by that party, I treated his suggestions with 
contempt ; but, as he soon fell under the blows of Sumner 
forever, I pass him by. I think it is not egotism when I 
say that none of the orators were heard with such interest 
as myself. 

Some one has cut out my speech (from the preserved 
account) on Boston Common ; but the one of the same 
night, in the Tremont Temple, is published. Webster 

* See letter in Life of J. J. Crittenden, by his daughter, Mrs. 
A. M. Coleman. 
Vol. I.— 7 



98 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

was president of the vast audience, and as such made 
the leading speech. The order of the exercises was pub- 
lished in hand-bills. Mr. Berrien, Senator from Georgia, 
was the first in order ; but, as Mr. Webster sat down, 
the cry for "Clay" was like the near ocean's roar. After 
several attempts, Mr. Webster said to the audience, that 
the list of speakers was made out by the committee ; and, 
reading it aloud, said each would be presented in his 
order. John M. Berrien was then presented, and spoke. 
I was second in order; but my speech, as I said, is lost. 
I, however, spoke, as the others, briefly, as it had already 
been arranged that I should have Tremont Temple to 
myself that night ; whilst the others, who were to speak 
also the same evening, were allotted to Boston Common 
again. When I had finished, I took my seat just behind 
Mr. Webster, on the same bench, or chairs, with other 
speakers ; and Mr. Fowler, of New York, was after a 
while introduced. Fowler was of great size, and sten- 
torian voice — a fair representative of the American bird — 
and a great admirer of Henry Clay. 

Webster was quite restive under Fowler's eulogies of 
Clay; and when the orator elevated him to the first place 
of all Americans, as an orator and a statesman, he could 
be silent no longer ; but, turning to the friends sitting 
near him, said: "Who put that fellow up here?" 

Clay was more outspoken, when he said, in the Sen- 
ate, in Webster's presence: "I feel no new-born zeal in 
behalf of this administration." So it must be conceded 
that the genius of Clay mastered the great but heavy 
talents of Webster, and made him the leader of all the 
men of his times. 

Mr. Clay was so conscientious a man in all his public 
acts, that he thought a personal difference of opinion with 
himself was a want of patriotism ; and he was too hasty 
in denouncing such action. This seems to have been the 
reason of his frequent defeats for the Presidency. When 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 99 

his name was before the people for that high office, those 
who were in, and those who had passed out, of political 
life, rose up in impregnable array against him; for re- 
venge is ever stronger than gratitude. So wrongs are 
forgiven more readily than insults — the last compelling 
revenge to restore self-respect. 

This was the visit to Boston, I think, during which 
I saw John Quincy Adams at his residence, which I have 
already spoken of in detail. I here again met Chester 
Harding, now mature in fame, who had painted my 
father, and other members of my family, in early life. 
He stood deservedly at the head of his profession in 
America as a portrait-painter. I now made the acquaint- 
ance of Wm. Lloyd Garrison. I said to him: "Why, 
Garrison, I had expected to see a long-faced ascetic; but 
I see you patriots are jolly, sleek fellows — not at all de- 
barred of the good things of life." He replied, in the 
same vein: "And therein, Clay, you are wrong, and 
somewhat confound things. The ascetics are the wrong- 
doers! Who should be happy, if not those who are 
always right?" 

Garrison was a man of great common sense, and much 
wit; and so, when slavery fell, he voted to abolish the 
Abolition Society. The great error of the Abolition move- 
ment, however, was the narrow view of the duties of the 
citizens of a Republic, wherein the voice of the majority 
must rule, subject to constitutional change, and influenced 
by policy and morality. I think their denunciation of 
slavery and the constitution did much toward the over- 
throw of that ill-fated system. But their work would have 
been much more efficient, had they stood for the Union 
and the Constitution at the same time. And this they ad- 
mitted by their action in the Civil War — abandoning the 
idea of disunion. 

After spending a very agreeable time in the modern 
"Athens," I went to New York, where the battle of the 



IOO MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

canvass was to be fought. This State was the arbiter of 
the fate of Clay ; and here was a large mass of Aboli- 
tionists, whom I was desirous to secure upon the Texas 
issue, against which annexation Mr. Clay had declared. 
I fought against the annexation of Texas because it was 
a part of the slave-power's scheme to extend slavery; 
Mr. Clay because it involved us in a necessary war with 
Mexico, with whom we ought to remain on terms of 
amity. Whilst opposed, in judgment, to slavery, and in 
general aspiration for the liberty of all men, Mr. Clay did 
not avow nor conceive a war upon slavery ; preferring, as 
most statesmen entrusted with the leadership in public 
affairs, to follow where he could not lead, and still main- 
tain the leadership. But, for the time being, Mr. Clay 
and myself were acting in good faith, in unison. The 
celebrated Alabama letter, then, was consistent with all 
his avowals in the Raleigh letter and his former life, and 
the conduct of the canvass. His enemies used it, how- 
ever, as a proof of his duplicity ; when, in fact, it was but 
the result of his innate manliness and hatred of decep- 
tion. But, as I had been pressing his election on the 
ground of his anti-slavery views so often expressed, and 
his opposition to Texas on the whole, whatever may have 
been their main reasons of objection, the enemies of Mr. 
Clay used some expressions in that letter, accompanied 
with his Raleigh letter, as proof of his giving way to the 
slave-power ; when, in fact, no man in America was, upon 
high political principles, more at heart opposed to the 
annexation. But the clamor of an unthinking canvass 
placed me in a false position. So I wrote to Mr. Clay, 
saying that I based my arguments upon his oft-repeated 
ideas on the subject of slavery ; but, if the interpretations 
put upon his views in the Raleigh and Alabama letters 
were the true ones, I should at once return to Kentucky, 
and be silent. Of course, as I have above explained 
Mr. Clay's sentiments as I understood them, he wrote me 
to go on with the canvass — maintaining my own sense of 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. IOI 

action. This letter,* sent by the Hon. Willis Greene, to 
the care of Horace Greeley, as I was in the interior of 
the State, was intercepted on the way, and published; and, 
though in perfect harmony with the integrity of Mr. Clay's 
whole life, was claimed yet more as proof of his infidelity 
to principle. 

The upshot was, that Mr. Clay lost New York. He 
was beaten by 5,106 votes, Jas. G. Birney getting 15,000. 
Thus the impracticable Abolitionists defeated Clay, the 
most honest man, next to Lincoln, that ever ran for Presi- 
dent. Texas was annexed with slavery, and the foretold 
Mexican War ensued. 

To return to Mr. Webster. The largest meeting I 
ever saw — except that when Capt. Fox was, with the 
officers of the American Navy, entertained by Prince Dol- 
gorouki, Viceroy at Moscow — was at Rochester, New 
York. I met Mr. Webster at the Astor House, in New 
York, his usual quarters. He had been invited to speak 
there, and I had just come from the interior, to take 
passage to that great assemblage, where it had been an- 
nounced that both of us would speak. I asked Mr. Web- 
ster if he was going? He said: "No, I see you are. 
going; and they had rather hear you than me." I men- 

* LETTER OF H. CLAY. 
[CONFIDENTIAL.] 

Ashland, Sept 18, 1844. 

My Dear Sir: — I received your favor of the 10th instant, in 
which you state that you will be in Boston on the 19th, where it 
is impossible this letter can reach you ; and I therefore send it to 
the Hon. Willis Greene, to be forwarded to you. 

I am perfectly persuaded of your friendly intentions, and feel 
grateful for them. But you can have no conception, unless you 
had been here, of the injury which your letter to the Tribune was 
doing ; and that was nothing in comparison to that which it was 
likely to inflict upon the Whig cause in the States of Tennessee, 
North Carolina, and Georgia. Our friend, John Speed Smith, as 
well as others, thought it even endangered the State of Kentucky. 
This effect resulted from your undertaking to speak of my private 



102 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

tion this, as well as" the kind expressions of J. O. Adams, 
as honorable testimony to my fame ; though no man liv- 
ing has ever deferred less to great men. This was the 
last I saw of Webster. I returned to Lexington with the 
speakers who had gone East and North to join in the 
canvass. The mode of travel then was from Baltimore, 
by stage over the mountains, to Wheeling, where a boat, 
at times, could be found ; and, if not, following the stage- 
way through Ohio was the common route by Maysville to 
Lexington. We had not heard the final result, of the 
election of Polk ; but we had gloomy presentiments. As 

feelings and those of my near and particular friends, and your state- 
ment that you had been ten years operating in the Abolition cause. 

Under these circumstances, there was an absolute necessity for 
the note which I published, although I regretted it extremely. I 
endeavored so to shape it as not to wound your feelings, and I 
hope I did not. 

Had you been here, you would have concurred with myself 
and other friends in thinking it indispensable. 

You must be well aware of the very great delicacy of my 
position. 

At the North, I am represented as an ultra supporter of the 
institution of slavery, whilst at the South I am described as an 
Abolitionist ; when I am neither the one nor the other. As we 
have the same sirname, and are, moreover, related, great use is 
made at the South against me of whatever falls from you. There, 
you are even represented as being my son ; hence the necessity of 
the greatest circumspection, and especially that you should avoid 
committing me. 

You are watched wherever you go ; and every word you pub- 
licly express will be tortured and perverted as my own are. 

After all, I am afraid that you are too sanguine in supposing 
that any considerable number of the Liberty men can be induced 
to support me. How can that be expected after they have voted 
against Mr. Slade ? 

With assurances of my thankfulness for your friendly purposes, 
and with my best respects for Mrs. Clay, 

I am truly and faithfully, your friend, 
C. M. Clay, Esq. H. CLAY. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. IO3 

we reached the foot of the mountain, there was a newly- 
erected hickory-pole, with leaves still green on the top. 
From a limb was suspended a skinned coon ; and then we 
knew the Whigs, nicknamed "Coons," were lost! 

Mr. Clay took his defeat with ill grace, and showed 
more than usual impatience. Naturally ambitious, he 
seemed to realize that destiny was against his elevation 
to the presidency, when so inferior a man as Jas. K. Polk 
was his opponent ; and when the constitution, violated in 
the annexation of Texas, and the sure result a war, were 
on his side. But he had many life-followers, and naturally 
he was desirous of rewarding their long devotion. At a 
dinner, at Lexington, Ky., at Dr. Benjamin W. Dudley's, 
at which I and Ex-Governor James T. Morehead, then a 
Senator of the United States, and other noted men, were 
present, Mr. Clay showed that unhappy arrogance which 
was fatal to his political personal success. He first set 
upon poor Morehead, who had voted against Clay's view 
on some passing question, in the style of a superior lec- 
turing a delinquent. Morehead apologized by saying, he 
but represented the people of his State, which he was 
bound to do ; but that Mr. Clay, being a national man, 
was no doubt allowed a larger liberty. Of course, Mr. 
Clay could say no more ; but his wrath was still unap- 
peased. He turned upon the Abolitionists, and especially 
those of New York, and was very severe in his denuncia- 
tion of them. I could but feel that part of his censure 
was against myself. I had already been badgered by the 
press, and denounced by my enemies at home; and, feel- 
ing indignant at his lecture of Morehead, was not in a 
humor to submit quietly even to the petulance of Henry 
Clay. So I said, very gravely: "Mr. Clay, whatever 
errors of judgment, or of patriotism, may justly be im- 
puted to the Abolitionists, I think you are the last man 
who ought to complain ; for, if I remember aright, you 
said that the Abolitionists should be set apart from, and 
denounced by all parties ; so they but played the role you 



104 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

marked out for them." Mr. Clay answered not a word; 
how could he? All the dinner-party, composed of follow- 
ers and admirers, were surprised and shocked ; for none 
of them, except Morehead, had any sympathy with my 
views ; and Dudley was one of the Committee of Three 
who afterward received such bitter denunciation from me, 
when the True American was set upon. Here began the 
coolness between Mr. Clay and myself which resulted in 
alienation, for awhile, on my part. For, as I loved and 
admired Mr. Clay above all his contemporaries, so, when 
I felt that he treated me with a want of magnanimity — 
not to say injustice — I resisted him in all his aspirations 
with equal intensity. But, when I was victor, my earlier 
sentiments revived ; and I could but feel some contrition 
that I had aided in the overthrow of so great a statesman 
and patriot. And I think my whole life shows that, whilst 
ever ready to resist wrong, I am equally willing to forgive 
a fallen foe ; for I have ever held that the next great 
honor to never having committed a wrong, is to frankly 
acknowledge it without reserve. 



CHAPTER VI, 



"The True American." — Why it was begun. — Employment of an Editor. — 
He is frightened into desertion. — The Office armed to repel ex- 
pected Assault. — The Committee of Sixty. — Co-Laborers. — James B. 
Clay. — Letter from my Mother. — Letter from Committee of Cincin- 
nati Citizens, and my Reply. — Removal of Office of "True Amer- 
ican" to Cincinnati. — Episode from Secret History of the Southern 
Confederacy — Time, 1864. 



THE defeat of Clay now for the third time — first in 
1824, then in 1828, and now in 1844 — seemed fatal 
to his future hopes of ever reaching the presidency. But 
his supporters, many of them, as ever has and ever will 
be, camp-followers for plunder, were more cast down than 
Clay himself. 

The Whigs had stood by the North on the tariff and 
other issues, mostly losing the South in consequence. 
Now, the North deserted them on one of her own issues, 
by her divisions, letting Slave-Texas come in by a vote 
simply of Congress, without the constitutional treaty power 
acquiring new territory, and taking in even an organized 
State. So the Whigs were sore unto death, and some- 
body must be made a scape-goat. 

I was the most agreeable sacrifice to them, for obvious 
reasons ; and so they set upon me with renewed virulence. 
I was the cause of all the trouble ; and, if it had not 
been for me, there would have been none of the slavery 
muddle, and they might have been eating treasury cheese, 
like other old rats, without hinderance. I needed no urg- 
ing on ; for I had seen a vitality in the popular heart in 
my Northern tour which foreshowed the downfall of the 
slave-power. It was only a question of time. After using 
the old political journals till their columns were closed 

105 



106 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

against me, I determined to start a press of my own in 
the cause of liberation. 

My object was to use a State and National Constitu- 
tional right — :the Freedom of the Press — to change our Na- 
tional and State laws, so as, by a legal majority, to abolish 
^slavery. There was danger, of course, of mob-violence, 
as Birney and Greene and Marshall and others had been 
silenced; and I determined to defend my rights by force, 
if need be. My fortune, somewhat shattered by political 
life, was yet not greatly impaired. I knew very well that 
such a paper would be a losing business, but I was will- 
ing to make the sacrifice. I engaged T. B. Stevenson, 
editor of the Frankfort, Ky., Commonwealth, to edit the 
paper, which was called The True American, allowing 
him one thousand dollars a year. When he heard of my 
design, he volunteered to join me in the movement, say- 
ing he felt that God had intended him for the service. 
He was a Methodist, and the founder of that sect, John 
Wesley, had been very bitter in his denunciation of the 
"peculiar institution." But, when mob-violence had threat- 
ened the lives of all engaged, Stevenson's courage failed 
him ; and he never appeared on the scene of action. Poor 
humanity! His cowardice was not all. Degraded in his 
own self-esteem, and lowered in my respect, of course, he 
turned out to be one of my bitterest enemies and de- 
nouncers. Other men, who afterward attained high rank 
in Kentucky, turned pale and deserted me, but said noth- 
ing against me. 

The present generation can know nothing of the terror 
which the slave-power inspired ; but it may be faintly con- 
ceived, when a professed minister of the Christian religion 
in South Carolina said that it were better for him, rather 
than denounce slavery, "to murder his own mother, and 
lose his soul in hell ! " 

My prospectus was moderate enough — proposing none 

■ but constitutional methods in the overthrow of slavery ; 

but when the first number appeared, on the 3d day of 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. IO7 

June, 1845, tne war was raging apace along all the lines. 
I selected for my office a brick building, and lined the 
outside doors with sheet-iron, to prevent it being burned. 
I purchased two brass four-pounder cannon at Cincinnati, 
and placed them, loaded with shot and nails, on a table 
breast high ; had folding doors secured with a chain, which 
could open upon the mob, and give play to my cannon. I 
furnished my office with Mexican lances, and a limited 
number of guns. There were six or eight persons who 
stood ready to defend me. If defeated, they were to es- 
cape by a trap-door in the roof; and I had placed a keg 
of powder, with a match, which I could set off, and blow 
up the office and all my invaders ; and this I should most 
certainly have done, in case of the last extremity. 

The names of my colleagues I have never given, as it 
would have subjected them to severe persecution ; and I 
have left it to themselves to make, or not, the revelation. 
Wm. L. Neal now avows himself one. One, however, 
who is now dead, I may mention with honor: T. Lewinski. 
He was a Polish emigre, a man of general education, 
speaking French and English, and an engineer. When I 
was Colonel of the Fayette Uniformed Legion, he acted 
as my adjutant, and formed quite an attachment for me. 
He married a Kentucky woman ; and was the faithful 
and efficient architect who built the addition to my resi- 
dence, during my absence in Russia. William and Black 
Kincaid, prominent citizens, were also friends of the 
cause. 

The truth is, the mob was worse scared than I. The 
Committee of Sixty, I afterward found out, was composed 
largely of my friends, who were willing to serve in order 
to control the more violent, whom T. F. Marshall had in- 
flamed by his speeches and writings. There was but one 
piece of cannon in Lexington, a brass eight-pounder, which 
had been used by the artillery company in my " Fayette 
Legion." Though the Captain, W. R. Bradford, was not 
friendly to me, my friends believed that the company was ; 



108 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

and that, in case of conflict, Bradford would have been re- 
jected, and the cannon used in my defense, instead of 
battering down -the doors of the Tt'ue American office. 
This I know, at least, that, on my return from Mexico, 
Bradford at first refused to fire the cannon in my honor, 
when the company was bent on doing so at all events, 
and he followed the public lead in my favor. James B. 
Clay, the son of Henry Clay, who acted as Secretary of 
the Committee of Sixty, and whom I sued in the courts 
on my return from Mexico, and against whom I got a 
verdict of damages for twenty-five hundred dollars, be- 
came ultimately 'my warm friend.* On his return from 
Portugal, he presented me with a pair of Spanish hogs, 
which he imported. Such are the changes in fortune and 
politics. 

As the True American contest is fully set forth in my 
published "Life and Writings," and also in Henry Wil- 

*The following letter was written in 1845. On my recovery 
from my illness, I sued the Revolutionary Committee ; but the court 
declared the True American a nuisance, under the old English com- 
mon law, which, if ever applicable to the Press, was expressly abro- 
gated by all our constitutions sustaining the liberty of such utterances, 
being only liable to civil damages for the abuse, in legal process. 
This my mother, as well as myself, foresaw. I so far, however, took 
her advice, that I waited till my return from Mexico before I took 
more formal proceedings against the mob. Then I recovered $2,500 
damages. Of course, she could not take as broad a view of the 
situation as I. My prominent friends were slave-holders! Henry 
C. Payne, my blood relative and uncle by marriage, a cotton-planter, 
with his sons, were opposed to my views, but ready to fight in 
defense of my life. And so were many of those who were of the 
Committee of Sixty my friends. But when repeated messengers 
would come, stating the bloody purposes of the mob, he and 
others were anxious to have me give up the freedom of the press; 
but my mother, seeing the firmness of my purpose, and the crit- 
ical state of my health, said : ' ' Cassius, do n't give up any thing 
you think it your duty to defend." And this greatly strengthened 
and relieved me, in my extremity. And now, in this letter, she 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. IO9 

son's "Slave-Power," I need only say here that the mob 
was utterly defeated in all their ends. I was not killed; 
and the American, published in Cincinnati, and edited by 
me at Lexington, increased in circulation in Kentucky and 
the Union generally, till I went to the Mexican War. 

In the Slave-States the political forces are quite diffe- 
ent from those of the Free-States. In the former, the 
great mass of the voters could not read ; and they were 
led by political speakers on the stump, where the orators 
of both parties made their appeals. It was, therefore, all 
important to the successful progress of my cause, that I 
should add to the liberty of the press the liberty of pub- 
lic discussion. My experience at Russell's Cave warned 
me that I must have some more personal force in my be- 
half than the advocacy of the freedom of the slave, and 
against whom the non-slaveholders felt enmity rather than 

shows eminent good sense, and sustains her first action : "If you 
prefer death to dishonor, so do I." The mother of the Gracci, 
in her celebrated advice to her children, but repeated the com- 
mon sentiment of the Roman people; but whoever before, in the 
world's history, stood so sublimely in defense of a moral princi- 
ple?— C. 1885. 

LETTER OF SALLY LEWIS DUDLEY. 

Cassius, my son, once more I beg to impress on your mind your real situa- 
tion. You have acted imprudently, and I can not deny my conviction of the truth, 
although my great and ardent affection for you would make me bury all your wrongs 
in everlasting forgetfulness. However pure your motives may have been, you have 
acted in a way to give your enemies plausible means to take advantage of you. 
My son, look back; you can not look into futurity. All your friends, or, at least, 
your best friends, were opposed to your printing that paper, because they knew 
your quick and hasty temper would bring you into difficulties. They knew you 
were opposed to being advised, and they went as far as they thought it was proper 
to go; and now you see you are overpowered. Your friends stood by and con- 
sented by silence to what was done. They believed you could never carry on that 
paper. I advised you to be mild in your course. Be still until you can see your 
way clear. If you act hastily, your life is lost. If you prefer death to dishonor, 
so do I. Where is your redress? Can you sue the very people, who have to try 
and give judgment in your case, and expect justice? No; give it up, at least for 
the present. I want you to see your brother (Brutus J. Clay), and talk freely with 
him. Never mind Mr. Smith's jokes (John Speed Smith). No person has advised 
me to write this letter; neither do any know I have done it. Your mother. That 
is enough. Farewell! 



IIO MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

sympathy. For one of the methods of the slave-power 
was to encourage this enmity between parties who were 
really natural allies in a common progress. 

Kentuckians being exceptionally, from their early his- 
tory, fond of military glory, I hoped by the Mexican 
War to strengthen myself so that I could take the 
stump, where I would be an over-match for all my foes ; 
when, if deemed necessary, the True American could 
be located at some point secure against mobs, and act 
as an ally of public discussion. The result proved that I 
was right. * 

* Correspondence between the Committee appointed by a meeting of the 

citizens of Cincinnati, held on the 25 th of August, and Cassias 

M. Clay: 

LETTER OF COMMITTEE. 

Cincinnati, August 27, 1845. 
Cassius M. Clay, Esq., Lexington, Ky. 

Sir : — We hand you inclosed a report of the proceedings of a large and re- 
spectable portion of the citizens of this city, in public meeting assembled, and a 
series of resolutions by them adopted, expressive of their views and feelings relative 
to the late violation of your rights, the illegal seizure of your printing press of the 
True American, and its deportation to this city. 

You will observe that we are charged as a Committee "to correspond with you 
concerning the custody and disposition of the Press, and to take such measures in 
relation to it as with your concurrence may be deemed advisable." 

Understanding that the press duly arrived at this city, and is in charge of the 
respectable commission-house to which it was consigned, and that it has been in- 
sured against loss or damage by fire for a short time, we presume that at present 
you do not need any services from us concerning it. But when you shall have 
recovered your health and strength, and when you shall resume the noble work of 
aiding your fellow-citizens in their deliverance from an enormous social evil exist- 
ing among them, by the adoption of measures and means to that end which are 
deemed safe, practical, peaceable, and salutary to all concerned ; and when, in fur- 
therance of that object, you may again wish to arm yourself with that great instru- 
ment of life and liberty — the Printing Press — we shall be happy to co-operate with 
you, and render any services in our power. 

Your exasperated opponents, when the day of passion shall have passed, will 
doubtless discover that the war they have waged against the voice that uttered, and 
the instrument that conveyed abroad those unwelcome principles and truths, has 
neither destroyed nor in the least changed those principles and truths; and that the 
only mode by which they can render them harmless and beneficent to themselves is 
by bringing themselves and their civil and social institutions into harmony with them. 

Permit us to remind you of the fact that the eyes of the advocates of freedom, 
the enlightenment and the elevation of all men throughout the world, are upon you; 
and that their sympathies are with you in the high and holy work in which you 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. Ill 

The most interesting event of the Secret History of 
the Confederacy has just come to light. About January 
2, 1864, General Joseph E. Johnston, then General-in-Chief 

have so fearlessly engaged. May you be sustained in the conflict with error and evil 
by a light and power from on high, and may you ultimately reap that highest of all 
rewards, the approbation of God, of all good men, and of your own conscience. 
Such is the earnest wish and hope of your fellow-citizens, 
Signed : Benj. Urner, Geo. W. Phillips, 

Jas. S. Glascoe, R. G. Mitchell, 
Jacob Ernst, Jas. Calhoun, 

Oliver Lovell, Committee. 



ANSWER OF CASSIUS M. CLAY. 

Lexington, Ky., September 4, 1845. 
Benj. Urner, James S. Glascoe, Jacob Ernst, Oliver Lovell, Geo. W. Phillips, R. G. 

Mitchell, James Calhoun. 

Gentlemen: — I have just received your letter of the 27th ult., inclosing the 
proceedings of the citizens of Cincinnati, and their resolutions in public meeting. 

Their words of kindness and generous appreciation, and noble and dignified 
avowal, have moved me more than all the studied cruelties and wrongs of my 
enemies; though I was unnerved by disease, and threatened, for long days and 
nights, with a horrible death. 

I thank you, that you have not allowed the calumnious manifesto of the revo- 
lutionists of the 18th of August to weaken your confidence in my loyalty to the con- 
stitution and laws. I thank you, that you have seen nothing in the past to cause you 
to lose confidence in the future, that my "measures and means" will be "safe, prac- 
tical, and peaceable." I thank you, that you deem my "work high and holy," and 
for the reverent and soul-sustaining invocation of Divine protection on me and on it. 

You, gentlemen, have taken me upon trust ; the time for my defense will come 
with my re-established health, when, I venture to say, your sentence will not be 
revoked by "Kentucky and the world." 

I shall allude now to only one charge going the rounds of the papers — that 
there was a compromise between me and the rebels of the 18th; and -that I agreed to 
discontinue the publication of the True American provided they would spare the' 
press. It is not necessary for me to say to you, who have seen my letter addressed 
to the meeting, as well as my previous handbills addressed to the people, that this 
story is calumnious and morally impossible. It is enough that the Committee of Sixty 
have authorized the Lexington Observer and Reporter to state that no such proposition 
came from me or any of my friends. This attempt, therefore, to degrade me, on the 
part of those who failed to destroy me, is of a piece with this whole outrage of cruelty 
and wrong, as I shall be able to show as soon as my health will allow. 

I hope I shall also be able to show, that I am neither a "madman" nor a 
"fanatic." 

They who sent back from Thermopylae the sublime message, "Go tell it at Lace- 
dcemon that we died here in obedience to her laws ; " the Roman who returned to 
captivity and to death that his country might be saved; Sydney, Hampden, and Rus- 
sell; Emmet, who uttered the mighty instincts of a great soul, "The man dies, but 
his memory lives;" Adams, who exclaimed, "Survive or perish, I am for the decla 



112 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

of the Confederate army at Dalton, called a council of 
his corps and division commanders, to consider the mem- 
orial of Major-General Cleburne, which was first approved 

ration;" Henry, who cried, "Give me liberty, or give me death," — were all, in the 
eyes of these men, "madmen" and "fanatics." 

It was necessary that some one should bear the standard of Liberty into the 
enemy's camp ; and by so doing, whether he stood or fell, arouse this great nation 
from the lethargy and death which have come over the spirit of a once free people. 
It has been the policy of wise statesmen in all ages, to clothe the humblest citizen 
with the concentrated power and inviolability of the whole empire. It was enough for 
one amidst the wildest barbarians to say, " I am a Roman citizen," and he was safe. 
No country in Europe is so careful of individual and national glory as France, the first 
nation of Europe; and England, but a few years ago, was ready to peril her thirty 
millions of lives on the rescue of a single subject. It can not, therefore, be less than 
madness in the American people, if they expect long to live as a nation, and not to 
fall an easy sacrifice to foreign aggression or internal anarchy and despotism, to look 
coldly on, whenever the humblest of those contending for constitutional liberty and 
national honor are overborne and trampled down in the battle. Surely that nation 
can not long live, far less be free, that sees, time after time, whatever of spirit and 
manly independence may any where exhibit itself, crushed and utterly extinguished. 

I thank you, then, and the people of Cincinnati, my fellow-citizens — men 
gathered under the same national Constitution, to which I owe allegiance, and 
which owes me protection ; brothers of the same blood, inheriting the same proud 
recollections of the past, and looking in the future to the same inseperable destiny — 
that you have not cowered before the slave-power ; but that you have stood by the 
friendless, the powerless, the fallen, and dared to speak out for constitutional repub- 
licanism and eternal justice, which have been violated in my person. Above all, am 
I deeply affected by the fact, that you assembled in " mass meeting " without distinc- 
tion of party; and, as both parties here were lost in overwhelming subservience to 
slavery, so you of the Free States begin to unite in the defense of your own rights, 
and in the cause of national liberty. 

If the Whigs and Democrats and Liberty Men shall become really what they 
assume, then is half my "work" accomplished, and the Republic safe; for, though 
my State should sink into irrevocable despotism, there will still be left somewhere on 
this wide continent a home for the exile and the oppressed. 

With regard to the Press, I would briefly remark, that my banner, "God and 
Liberty," will never be struck. 

Though overpowered by numbers, I have the same unconquerable will and defi- 
ant spirit, as though the day had not gone against me. It is for those who fight for 
the wrong, to despair in defeat. 

I shall not "die through mortification," as my enemies would have it. I trust 
that I shall yet live to see those who, on the 18th of August, 1845, rose in arms, over- 
powered the civil authorities, and overthrew the constitutional liberties of the State, 
and established on its ruins an irresponsible despotism, hurled from their usurped 
places of fancied security, and Kentucky yet made free. 

If, however, this be a vain hope, still I will not repine; for I should feel prouder 
to have fallen with her honor, than to have ingloriously triumphed with my enemies 
over the grave of the liberties of my country. With gratitude and admiration, I am 
your friend and obedient servant, C. M. Clay. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. II3 

by the brigadier commanders of his division. I quote from 
the Ci?icinnati Commercial -Gazette of March, 1885: 

"The points of it [the memorial] have been preserved, as ex- 
plained below: 

"synopsis of cleburne's memorial. 

"It urged on the Confederate Congress 'the emancipation of 
all slaves, and their conscription into the army.' He claimed: 

"1. Such a course would relieve the Southern people of a 
yearly tax, an unproductive consumption, because the slave con- 
sumed more than his profits; thus distinguishing the profit of the 
negro from the profit of cotton. 

"2. It would animate the undying gratitude of that race. 

"3. It would create in the negro a greater self-respect and 
ambition. 

' ' 4. With gratitude and ambition, the service of the soldier 
would be both reliable and valuable. 

"5. That the moral effect throughout the world, but especially 
in Europe, would be generally strengthening and beneficial to the 
South. 

' ' 6. That the result would be the signal for immediate Euro- 
pean recognition, and, indeed, action. Germany and Italy would 
have been disarmed of their prejudice, Napoleon would imme- 
diately have been encouraged to become a Lafayette, and Great 
Britain would not have been afraid to back him in Parliamentary 
declaration, no matter how the working classes would have felt. 

"7. That it would raise the blockade, and give us provisions 
and clothing." 

' ' The memorial was a lengthy one, each point being amplified 
and argued. The paper itself can not be found. General Cleburne 
destroyed his own copy, and a copy sent to Richmond at the time 
is not to be found in the captured archives. The above points 
were preserved by Major Charles S. Hill, the accomplished statis- 
tician of the State Department, who was Cleburne's Chief of Ar- 
tillery at the time the memorial was prepared. 

' ' The papers following present the story of this plan of Cle- 
burne's, and the action taken upon it, so far as it is preserved in 
that portion of the Confederate archives now in possession of the 
Government." 

Vol. I.— 8 



114 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

The council refused unanimously to adopt the mem- 
orial, except General Cleburne's division officers ; and 
General Johnston refused to forward it to the Confed- 
erate Government, and burned it. It, however, reached 
President Davis, who declared, through the Secretary of 
War, that — 

' ' The motives of zeal and patriotism which have 
prompted General Walker's action are, however, fully appreciated; 
and that action is probably fortunate, as it affords an appropriate 
occasion to express the earnest conviction of the President that the 
dissemination or even promulgation of such opinions under the 
present circumstances of the Confederacy, whether in the army or 
among the people, can be productive only of discouragement, dis- 
traction, and dissension. The agitation and controversy which must 
spring from the presentation of such views by officers high in pub- 
lic confidence are to be deeply deprecated ; and, while no doubt or 
mistrust is for a moment entertained of the patriotic intents of the 
gallant author of the memorial, and such of his brother officers as 
may have favored his opinion, it is requested that you will com- 
municate to them, as well as all others present on the occasion, 
the opinions as herein expressed of the President, and urge on 
them the suppression, not only of the memorial itself, but likewise 
of all discussion and controversy respecting or growing out of it. 
I would add that the measures advocated in the memorial are con- 
sidered little appropriate for consideration in military circles, and 
indeed in their scope pass beyond the bounds of Confederate 
action, and could under our constitutional system neither be com- 
mended by the Executive to Congress, nor be entertained by that 
body. 

' ' Such views can only jeopard among the States and people 
unity and harmony, when, for successful co-operation and the 
achievement of independence, both are essential. 

"With much respect, very truly yours, 

"James A. Seddon, 
"Secretary of I Far." 

On the 6th of October, 1864, the Richmond Enquirer began 
a vigorous support of the proposition. The next session of the 
Confederate Congress authorized the arming of the negroes ; and, 
just before the surrender, their enlistment began about Richmond. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. I I c 

It was too late. General Hood, in his recent work, "Advance 
and Retreat," in mentioning the death of Cleburne at the bat- 
tle of Franklin, thus records his mature judgment on the pro- 
position which he failed to defend before the Council of War at 
Dalton : 

' ' He (Cleburne) possessed the boldness and the wisdom to 
earnestly advocate, at an early period of the war, the freedom of 
the negro, and the enrollment of the young and able-bodied of the 
race. This stroke of policy and additional source of strength 
to our armies would, in my opinion, have given us our inde- 
pendence." 

There is no more interesting chapter than this among the un- 
published portions of the Confederate records. — H. V. B. 

Such are briefly the principal points of the movement, 
as given by the Commercial -Gazette s correspondent, H. 
V. B., which I propose to consider now. The proposi- 
tion made by Cleburne was substantially the one made 
by me to Lincoln in 1862; and which, as will be seen 
hereafter, was adopted by him and the Republican Party, 
with what result the world knows. But, whilst it was 
wise in us to liberate and use the slaves as soldiers, 
Davis was wise in the refusal to do so, because none 
knew better than he that the non-slaveholders, composing 
the great element of voters and soldiers, had no interest 
whatever in the continued existence of slavery ; and that 
they were driven into the Rebel armies by their insane 
hatred of the blacks, who were their rivals in work and 
social position, with the additional differences of color and 
race. Why does the Irish emigre, and the American as 
well, hate the Chinese and blacks? For similar reasons. 
The unintelligent Southern white laborers there desired 
the continuance of slavery, and fought for it. Now, had 
Davis liberated them, and put them in the army, the great 
mass of his white soldiers would have deserted ! 

Again, the object of the great mass of Southerners, 
with a few ambitious Rebels, who fought for power, was 
to conserve slavery ; and, that gone, the old Union was 



Il6 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

theirs without a fight ! When, therefore, this scheme was 
adopted in the last extremity, I imagine it but hastened 
the end. It was this knowledge which drove me into the 
Democratic ranks in the restoration of State autonomy, 
and which caused me to take ground against our friends, 
Sherman and Hoar, who favored armed interference in the 
South, in the late canvass of 1884. 

The moment you introduce National bayonets into the 
South to suppress even the despotic action of the Demo- 
cratic Party, in the overthrow of the right of the colored 
citizens of the Republic to vote, you threaten a war of 
races ; and in such contest the whites will stand almost as 
a unit. The true remedy of the colored man's wrong 
must be the division of the blacks of the South them- 
selves into Republicans and Democrats. In my opinion, 
however long deferred, this is the only remedy. It may 
come out of a National Democratic rule ; but I think a 
Solid North is the best way to break up a Solid South, 
and restore self-government to the American people. 



CHAPTER VII 



The Mexican War. — James S. Jackson. — Col. H. Marshall. — Buffalo Hunt- 
ing. — Comanche Hunting Camps. — Tigers. — Rough Surgery. — Morning 
Light. — A Snake Story. — The First Shot. — A Mule's Sagacity. — Lost 
for Days on our Return Trip. — K's Despondency. — A Night with Rob- 
bers. — My School-mate Desperado. — After Tragedy a Comedy. — Arrival 
at last at Lavaca. 



AS I had, in several speeches against the annexation 
of Texas, predicted that such would bring on war, 
the South was not surprised at my course ; whilst the 
North, not having noted my promises, and not under- 
standing my motives, were for the time alienated from 
me. On volunteering, I took my position in the ranks ; but 
I had the promise of Governor Wm. Owsley, through his 
son-in-law, Judge Wm. C. Goodloe, that I should be made 
Colonel of a regiment, as I had thrown the delegation 
from Fayette in his favor for nominee for the executive 
office by the Whig Party. But, when the slave-power 
heard of this scheme ; as I was told, the Governor re- 
ceived a "barrel of letters," protesting against my ap- 
pointment. Thus I found myself in the ranks of the 
"Old Infantry," instead of being Colonel. This company 
was, in the War of 1812, under the command of my father, 
General Green Clay ; and it had continued organized till 
the Mexican War, when it was received by the Govern- 
ment as part of Colonel Humphrey Marshall's regiment 
of mounted men. I had been its Captain ; and it com- 
posed, also, one of the companies of the Fayette Legion, 
of which I had also been Colonel. 

In the meantime, Wm. R. McKee, my old school- 
mate, having been educated at West Point, also volun- 
teered in the army of invasion. Hearing that Governor 

117 



I 1 8 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Owsley would surely make me Colonel of the new regi- 
ment, he came to Lexington, and asked me to decline in 
his favor, as he believed the companies would recommend 
him, and the Governor would appoint him. I liked 
McKee. He had been my second in the fight with 
Wickliffe, and was a gallant fellow. So I said to him : 
"The Old Infantry are now in their quarters for night- 
drill ; go down and see them, and let them decide be- 
tween us." So, going down, he returned, and said, 
that they were for me, and he gave it up ; and, turn- 
ing his attention to the infantry in other parts of the 
State, was made Colonel of Infantry, and fell gallantly 
fighting at the head of his command at Buena Vista. 

Humphrey Marshall, another graduate of West Point, 
was made Colonel, and his cousin, Thomas F. Marshall, 
of Woodford, was one of the Captains of the regiment. 
We were mustered into service at Louisville ; carried to 
Memphis, Tennessee, by water, and went mounted by land 
to Mexico. 

In the meantime, James S. Jackson, my friend, was 
chosen Captain of the "Old Infantry," and I was muster- 
ing along the streets of Lexington, with my musket on 
shoulder. Now the slave-power was exultant, and said: 
"We have him now; he will never return alive, and we 
will be shut of the damned agitator." But I here re- 
ceived the greatest honor ever given an American citizen. 
The gallant Jackson, when he saw that Governor Owsley 
had betrayed me, and that the aristocracy were trium- 
phant over my supposed disgrace, called the company to- 
gether in the court-house yard ; and, without giving me 
the least hint in advance, addressed the soldiers, and, re- 
signing, nominated me as Captain. I was unanimously 
elected ; Mason Brown, the son of Samuel Brown, voting 
for me, being the Second Lieutenant of the company. 
Jackson then took my place in the ranks, and messed 
with me till I was made prisoner at Encarnacion. More 
of him hereafter. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



II 9 



At Louisville, on the night before we set out for 
Memphis, some of our soldiers, having deserted, took ref- 
uge in a house of ill-fame. Colonel Marshall ordered me 
to surround the house, and bring them into camp. I did 
so. A shot was fired from the house ; and the men, ex- 
asperated, broke up some of the furniture. On my re- 
turn home, my enemies, to annoy me, had me sued for 
damages, and the jury brought in a verdict against me. 
It was held that I had violated the civil rights of citizens 
illegally; but, as I acted under orders which I dared not 
disobey, the National Government, as in the case of Gen- 
eral Andrew Jackson, under like circumstances at New 
Orleans, promptly refunded me the money. 

From Memphis, we went over swamps, lagoons, and 
rivers to Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas. There 
we were well received and feasted ; and one of the loveli- 
est of the Arkansas girls gave me a beautiful red ostrich 
feather for my cap, which I wore off on the march in tri- 
umph over all the young fellows of the regiment. 

As commissary stores, etc., had to be gathered at La- 
vaca, in Texas, on the Gulf, believing that some delay 
and leisure would ensue, I got leave of absence for some 
days from our commander to hunt buffalo, then said to 
be on the north-western line of the settlements. So, 
taking J. K., a courageous soldier from Captain Milam's 
company, and an extra pack-mule, with fly-tent and pro- 
visions, we went by the way of the Hot Springs, then 
having but a few rude cabins, where now a great city 
begins to rise. In a few days, having crossed the Red 
River at Shreveport, and taking by a pocket-compass a 
north-westerly course, we were soon beyond the settle- 
ments, and in the wild prairies of the Comanches and 
the buffaloes. 

These prairies were gently undulating, so that the riv- 
ulets seemed, by an optical illusion, to run uphill. They 
were devoid of trees, but full of tall grass and wild 
flowers of infinite color, grace, and beauty. There was 






120 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

no animal life ; but the flowers seemed to give the pleas- 
ure of association, and filled the eye with their novel love- 
liness ; and their odor, of the most profuse and delicate 
flavors, intoxicated the senses. Occasionally a thread of 
trees and wild rye marked some distant rivulet, where the 
early rains had developed unusual vegetation. 

It was now October, but the air was as balmy as in 
June; and the blood flowed merrily through our veins, 
making existence itself a pleasure. The great rivers of 
Texas flow approximately north and south, spreading out 
into fan-shaped upper waters, rivers, creeks, and rivulets. 
During the winter rains they are flush, and wash deep 
holes in their beds ; in the summer and fall few streams 
flow, but "water-holes" are the places where the In- 
dians and wild animals are supplied, till the rains are 
renewed. 

After a long day's travel, toward eve one day we saw 
a pencil-mark line on the distant horizon, which we knew 
at once to be water, or at least a water-path. These 
water-courses are invariably covered with shrubs, trees, 
and vines, thickly set, which may best be termed "jun- 
gles;" and near these, for shade and water, all animal life 
gathers. Near dark we reached the jungle, and crossed 
the bed of the rivulet to the west side, where we found 
a newly-deserted Indian camp, and knew that water could 
be most surely found near by. I pitched our tent, tethered 
our two horses and the gray mule "Billy," and made a 
fire to boil our coffee, whilst K. went in search of water. 
He was not long gone before he found a fine "water- 
hole" or pool, at which we watered our horses and filled 
our canteens. 

In this camp there was nothing but structures for dry- 
ing buffalo-meat. These are made by setting four forks 
of wood, cut with their hatchets, reaching about six or 
seven feet above the ground. Upon these are laid cross 
sticks, and again upon these other cross sticks are set, 
upon which the buffalo or other meat, cut in long strips, 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 121 

is wound around, as pumpkin is cured in the mountain 
portions of Kentucky by the poorer families. As the 
meat is set, a fire is kindled under it, which smokes 
away the flies, and, with the aid of the sun, so dries it 
that it is ready to pack and keep without salt in the hot- 
test weather. In other camps I found the temporary bed- 
steads of the savages, made of two short pieces, say six 
inches in diameter, then two poles seven feet long laid 
upon these, and again smaller cross pieces, upon which I 
suppose the buffalo skins were laid. Over one of these 
bedsteads small boughs were bent, like the willows of a 
child's wagon-body, over which no doubt hides were spread 
to keep off dew and rain. So even the hardy Indians 
take care to avoid the damp, which, in sleep especially, 
is so fatal to animal life. This bedstead was, no doubt, 
for the chief of the gang. 

In the Indian towns, of course, huts of high poles and 
skins are made ; but, in their rapid movements, the Co- 
manches lie on the ground upon their skins, or on these 
temporary bedsteads, which are made only, I suppose, 
when they have found plenty of game for some time's 
use. All these days we had not seen a living thing, 
neither bird nor animal, and the reason was plain — all 
these take up their quarters near the water and shade, 
where food is also plenty. 

Having adjusted things for the night, we laid down in 
our fly-tent to sleep. Here we were, for the first time in 
our lives, several day's travel from the extreme borders 
of civilization, in a recent Indian camp of the treacherous 
Comanches, who acknowledged no law but force, sur- 
rounded by we knew not what ferocious animals. So 
"kind nature's sweet restorer" was slow to close our eye- 
lids. Far down the ravine we heard, as we thought, the 
low growl of the tiger; one, two, three, and then more 
and more, as if they had caught the scent of meat, or 
our horses, and were evidently coming nearer and nearer, 
and increasing in numbers as they approached us. 



122 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

K. had hardly ever been out of cities, and I, though 
familiar with our Kentucky game, deers, bears, etc., had 
no idea what these voices were. He sprang to his feet, 
rekindled the fire, and seized his rifle. I followed suit; 
and, being prepared, we stood to our arms, as we specu- 
lated about whence came these unheard-of sounds. At 
length we concluded that it was the Mexican tiger, or 
leopard, which had made its way to these unfrequented 
woods. If they should attack us, or our horses, we 
seemed unequal to the fight ; for now they appeared to 
increase, and were formidable in number, as well as 
louder, on nearer approach. Having heard that wild 
beasts were intimidated by fire, we piled on more wood, 
and stood cautiously to our arms — guns and pistols. 

After a long time these gutteral sounds began to de- 
crease, and gradually ceased. We again laid down upon 
our blankets, and began to enter the land of dreams, 
when a loud cry from K. brought me to my feet. In 
this dry clime of vermin, a bug had entered his ear, and 
was testing the practicability of passing its sensitive drum, 
when the excruciating pain caused my brave-hearted com- 
panion to cry out like a woman. What was to be done? 
I had heard that oil poured into the ear would drive out 
a bug, but we had no oil. I bethought me of the coffee- 
pot, which stood still simmering on the dying embers ; 
and, knowing salt to be very offensive to insects, I placed 
K. on his side, still bellowing like a "bull calf!" I put 
the nozzle to his ear, and deluged it and his face and 
eyes with the hot salt-water. The bug came running 
out; and K., spurting the liquid from his mouth and wip- 
ing his closed eyes, and seeing my suppressed laughter, 
covered me with alternate curses and compliments. He 
was relieved; and ever after he told the story with comic 
expressions of gratitude and humor. 

Without further incident, we rose with the " mighty 
king of day;" and, packing our mule, after a hasty break- 
fast, we' entered the prairie once more, turning from our 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. I 23 

course a little to examine our field of tiger sounds. We 
had not gone far before we saw an immense herd of buf- 
faloes grazing on the distant prairie, renewing the sounds 
of the night before. The buffalo, like the hog, being gre- 
garious, gives a similar grunt when feeding, with his head 
sunk into the tall grass, by which the herd is directed and 
kept together. But they soon saw us, long before within 
gunshot, and put off with their awkward regular gallop, 
and were soon lost in the distance. Turning again north- 
west, we met with no incident of note till the afternoon ; 
the buffalo, no doubt, having come a long way to drink at 
the water-hole. 

"Billy," the mule, was never satisfied with eating, and 
had to be driven often into the line of march. So K., 
cutting a long whip-staff, and slinging to it an extra 
bridle rein, kept him between us; I going before, the 
mule next, and K. bringing up the rear. Ascending a 
slight acclivity, where there was more sand than grass, 
and that little very sparse in small patches, Billy came to 
a sudden halt, with ears cast forward, fore feet set apart, 
and gave a loud snort. K. cried out: "Indians, Billy; 
Indians!" But Billy stood fixed to the spot, with his 
eyes staring, and inclined toward the near ground. Look- 
ing down, I saw a very novel snake, about four or five 
feet in length, of rare and brilliant colors, and shaped like 
a whip-thong. It lay at full length, at near right angles 
to our line of march. K. soon dismounted; and, club- 
bing his long whip-staff, prepared to strike. The snake 
made not the least motion at his approach, not even 
opening its mouth, or thrusting out its tongue, as is 
usual with snakes. K. came down with his blow ; my 
eyes were never taken off the snake. But the snake was 
not killed, but gone! Neither of us saw him move, and 
we never saw him more ! We examined for rods all 
around, the surface being nearly all pure sand, but found 
no hole, and saw no signs of the snake. K. was more 
surprised than myself; and, mounting his horse, with im- 



124 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

agination stored by last night's adventure, swore it was 
the devil ! At certain speeds, objects make no impres- 
sion on the retina, as the swiftly-turned spokes of a spin- 
ning-wheel. The snake was no doubt of the constrictor 
class, and of great speed, and exerting his powers escaped 
our sight. But K. would never admit the reasoning ; and, 
for long years afterward, when the snake story was named, 
would look serious, shake his head, and say nothing. 

Coming at length to a ravine, where there was much 
sign of buffalo, we pitched tent, tethered Billy, and decided 
after midday to take a hunt. Passing over a slight rise of 
the prairie, I saw a huge buffalo bull grazing alone near a 
jungle ; and, passing below till I reached the trees, I ad- 
vanced cautiously till I got near him, and then tied my 
horse and approached on foot. The rifle I carried, bor- 
rowed in the regiment, the largest bore I could get, save 
the carbines, carried about thirty-two balls to the pound, 
when an ounce ball very judiciously used was needed to 
kill these immense animals. But I had a brace of first- 
class dueling-pistols in my belt, so I concluded to use 
them. Having heard that the buffalo, when wounded, 
would turn upon his enemy, I took all precautions for 
safety. I set my rifle by a tree, and observed one with 
suitable limbs for ascent ; and then, taking my pistol in 
hand, I sought the bull, which was behind a small patch 
of sumac bushes, and I could plainly hear him stripping 
the tender grass in grazing. Creeping through the bushes, 
within ten feet of him, I fired at him behind the shoulder ; 
and running at once to my tree, about twenty paces off, 
climbed it. 

He had evidently been hit severely, but I saw him gal- 
loping off over the prairie. I went to the bushes, and saw 
where he had plunged into the smoke of my pistol, tear- 
ing up the ground for many yards with his sliding hoofs. 
So, if I did not escape being laughed at, I avoided being 
killed ! Mounting my horse, I at once went in pursuit, 
but saw him no more. I had not gone far, however, before 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. I 25 

I saw a fine buffalo calf, strayed off from the herd, and 
soon put a ball through him, behind the shoulder, with my 
rifle. I then struck for camp, where K. had already re- 
turned with a larger calf than my own, in the killing and 
capturing of which he had a wonderful tale to tell. As 
we had now meat enough, I did not return to my calf, 
having brought in the tuft of his tail in proof of my 
prowess. 

We now set about butchering, cutting up the better 
pieces of the calf, and roasting them on spits set in the 
ground. I much enjoyed our fare, the while drawing out 
K. about his fight with the calf — how he shot him and 
caught him, and how the calf rose and horned him, and 
all that ; until, seeing I was using mock wonder, he drop- 
ped the story. . 

Having no time to cure the buffalo-meat in the regular 
way, we roasted the best parts on spits, and packed them 
in our stores. Along the ravine we saw plenty of wild 
turkeys (but no smaller game), feeding upon the wild 
grasses, which are quite eatable ; and we occasionally 
killed one, and, putting strips of salt pork, pinned on with 
splinters, and turning him on a spit with one end stuck 
in the ground, we had a delicious roast — never so good 
elsewhere, because this is the best method of cooking it, 
and the appetite is the best sauce. 

Continuing our hunt successfully, we still bore north 
by west, the timbered ravines increasing, so that we knew 
we were passing one of the great rivers of Texas — a 
State larger than France. Indian signs increased, and the 
camps were fresher. One day we passed an Indian in 
the open prairie, on horseback, coming exactly toward us. 
As we knew the Comanches were ever hostile, and never 
to be trusted, we took rifles in hand, and watchfully passed 
him ; he, also, with rifle in hand, passed us, and neither 
spoke. Of course, a single hunter would rarely be found, 
and we regarded him as a spy. We, therefore, pushed on 
that day ; and, having watered our horses on the way, 



126 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

traveled till near dark, when we lay down upon the dry 
prairie without tent, eating our dried cooked meat only. 

Now, ever since Billy had been frightened with the 
snake — when K. cried out lustily, "Indians, Billy!" — he 
had used that word to bring the mule from his grazing 
diversions into line. For, as soon as he would cry out 
"Indians," and affect to run and be scared, Billy would 
take up a trot, and come into line behind me. We had 
scarcely adjusted ourselves to sleep, when the mule brought 
us up with tremendous snorts, kept up without ceasing. 
So we concluded that the Indians had been watching us 
during the day, and were now trailing us through the tall 
grass by starlight, to steal our horses, take our guns, and 
perhaps kill us. We at once packed up, changed some- 
what our course ; and, after a few miles, slept upon the 
prairie. Now, whether it was Indians, or bears, or wolves, 
the horses took no notice of them, but the mule sounded 
the alarm. 

Our provisions being now nearly expended, except the 
buffalo-meat, and the savages being near us, we resolved 
to set out for Lavaca, on the Gulf. I set my face by 
compass, and kept a right line as well as I could. The 
farther west we went, the more the timber and jungle in- 
creased. The cactus began to appear in places, mingled 
with thorns, brush-wood, and grapevines ; and, what was 
worse, quicksands began to obstruct the crossings of the 
rivulets, or rather the beds of the same, which were now 
nearly all dry. The buffaloes cross these streams and 
pick the secure places, and make very marked paths. We 
had to follow those paths for long distances, without re- 
gard to course, winding about over small prairies, between 
the rivulets and creeks, which more and more presented 
obstructions. For days and nights we worried through 
these wastes, without seeing a living thing but slimy 
snakes sliding through the jungles. We camped wher- 
ever we happened to find water ; and ate about the last 
of our stores, except the buffalo-meat, being without salt 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 127 

or bread. In the meantime, K. had become demoralized 
and despondent, saying we might as well give up, and lie 
down on the grass and die ! We here have a sample of 
fortitude as distinct from courage. K. would have met a 
host of men in arms, but yielded to unforeseen disaster 
as a child. 

I had now been using the tomahawk and Bowie-knife 
in clearing away the jungle, in all of which K. was un- 
able or unwilling to assist. In the meantime, the differ- 
ence in the instincts or intelligence of the horse and mule 
was apparent. The horses were comparatively indifferent 
to the snakes and the quicksands, while Billy was ever 
watchful and cautious of both. 

On the third day, about two o'clock, we came upon a 
waste of jungle as far as the eye could reach ; and, as K. 
refused to go farther, and insisted on returning on our 
tracks, I set my compass south by east, and attempted to 
return. In the meantime, the buffalo traces had been lost, 
and I ran by the compass, laboring hard with the axe and 
knife. Fortunately, we met no quicksands ; and, about 
sunset, having traveled many hours and many miles in a 
straight line, amidst ever-recurring patches of prairie and 
jungle, we debouched into a wider and higher prairie, with 
a new woods about a mile off, to which I directed myself, 
to camp on the streamlet's banks. 

I now saw a black bear about one hundred yards off. 
He stood with his side toward me, gently turning his head 
toward me. I shot, and he scampered off into the jungle 
we had just left. The wolves now set up their infernal 
howl, which seemed to be a few hundred yards from us, 
in a small jungle on our left. K. mistook them for a set- 
tler's dogs, and insisted upon turning to the left. I knew 
very well that they were only wolves ; and, to humor my 
companion, we rode up to where the notes were heard, 
when they grew fainter in the distance, whereupon K. re- 
lapsed into his usual despondency. I had not gone far, 
when a reddish-gray fox stood near me on the prairie, 



128 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

looking, no doubt, for the first time upon man. I shot 
him for variety of fare, and took him to the jungle, where 
we pitched our camp. 

Gathering our animals, I left K. to pitch our tent and 
make a fire, and skin the fox, whilst I hunted for water. 
I was not gone long before I found water; and, returning, 
found K. with the tent up, but lying down, with no fire, 
and the fox untouched. Getting our canteens full of 
water, and warming up the buffalo-meat, I invited K. to 
supper; but he declined to eat, not having tasted any- 
thing but dry meat early that morning. Whilst I was 
nibbling the last of the meat, and attempting to show K. 
that there was no danger of starvation, as we had plenty 
of ammunition, and the game began now to be more plen- 
tiful, I heard a sound which first revealed to me how 
much my own spirits had been depressed — for I did not 
know what jungles, quicksands, and other difficulties were 
before — I heard the bark of a real dog. I was sitting 
by the fire, at the mouth of the tent, eating and reflect- 
ing upon the dangers of the situation. The moon shone 
brightly, and but a breath of wind blew steadily from the 
south-east. On water and the prairies sounds are wafted 
incredible distances with the wind. In certain stages of 

o 

the atmosphere, I often hear the cars passing from Lex- 
ington to Winchester, more than twenty miles away ; and 
now I heard the bay of the dog in the far distance, but I 
heard it unmistakably. I called to K., who was lying down: 

" I hear a dog." 

"No," said he, "it is the wolves again." 

" K., you are a fool," said I; "don't I know a dog 
from a wolf? Come," said I, "come and listen for your- 
self." 

At length he was persuaded to move ; and, crawling 
upon his hands and knees, he dragged himself to the 
tent's mouth. The moon shone brightly upon his care- 
worn and relaxed features. A month's sickness could not 
have done the work of a few days of lost hope ! He 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. I 20, 

heard the far-distant, faint notes of the baying dog. Hope 
returned like a flash of lightning to his features. He 
sprang up like a tiger ; and, throwing his arms around my 
neck, cried : 

"Are n't those the sweetest sounds that ever fell upon 
mortal ears?" 

His appetite returned, and he helped me to finish our 
last piece of food. We slept well, and by light were off 
once more. Luckily, we came upon solid ground, the jun- 
gles grew less and far between ; and, toward midday, we 
debouched into a high rolling prairie, where some herds- 
men had burned the early grass, and where we first saw 
the mesquite trees and grass of the same name. The 
looks of these patches of growth are so like an old 
peach-orchard in shape and interval, that for more than 
once we were sure we had entered the "settlements," 
and were near some farm-house. We had again almost 
doubted the veritable dog, when, mounting the top of a 
rolling prairie, we saw afar off horses, under a few shade- 
trees, switching away the flies. By four o'clock in the 
afternoon we came to a newly-made log cottage and 
farm-yard, where we were hospitably entertained, getting 
plenty of well-cooked game, eggs, and milk from a cool 
spring. Never did weary travelers more enjoy a meal 
and a bed. 

We must have traveled thirty or forty miles that day ; 
and the dog we heard was that of some herdsman or 
hunter nearer our late camp. The man was illiterate, and 
knew no more where he was in Texas than we did, save 
that he was on the very verge of civilization. So, renew- 
ing our stores, and cordially thanking and taking leave of 
our host and his family, our horses having had a good 
feed of Indian-corn and oats, we set out once more, go- 
inor rather west than south-west, to cross all interven- 
ing streams at nearer right angles; when, striking the 
Ozark Mountains, we would go directly south on higher 
ground. 

Vol. I.— 9 



I3O MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

We met no very great obstacles in our route, not car- 
ing to shoot any game ; and, the streams becoming less 
frequent, we began to set our course almost due south. 
At length, one evening, while the sun was yet above the 
horizon, we saw the indications of a stream flowing from 
west to east, and at right angles to our course ; and still 
nearer we found a ranch, with houses and yards and 
stables well fenced in. Rejoicing once more to enter 
civilized lands, we came up to the fence ; and, throwing 
our reins over the fence-posts, for there was a post-and- 
railing fence around the buildings, we got down without 
ceremony, when, entering a small gate, a man quickly 
advanced from his companions, about a half dozen men 
lying listlessly on the grass, and met me half way, having 
on a belt in which two pistols were stuck. 

But here I must go back nearly a quarter of a cen- 
tury in time, long before Texas was independent, and 
while New Mexico was a Spanish possession, under the 
king of Spain and his viceroys. At that time, there was 
a considerable trade carried on between New Mexico and 
the city of St. Louis and Missouri. The merchants were 
all Spaniards ; and, bringing gold and silver, and some 
few other articles, carried back hats, cloths, etc., to sell 
at home. As there were no means of exchange then but 
metals, these were brought under guard the whole route. 

As now, the most desperate and daring of our people 
being driven to the frontier, a project was conceived of 
murdering these carriers, and appropriating the gold. 
Among these were persons from Kentucky and other 
States ; and the most daring spirit among them was said 
to be a man whom I knew well, as I had known him at 
school, and until we were both men. 

Mr. left Kentucky early in life, but not before his 

daring spirit was well known by his associates. He was 
under six feet, rather spare, but wiry and muscular. Few 
could beat him in the school-boy plays, in jumping and 
wrestling, and all that. He was of rather swarthy com- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



131 



plexion, dark and flowing hair, large and flashing black 
eyes, and a highly nervous temperament, with a glance 
quick and penetrating as a hawk's. A merchant by the 
name of Travis, with his followers, were the first victims ; 
they waylaid him on the confines of Missouri, then un- 
settled, and killing him and some of his employes, and 
putting all to flight, they took and divided his gold. 
Some of them were at last taken and hanged, but the 
most escaped ; and the leader, as rumor goes, my old 
school-mate, was one of them. I had not seen him for 
nearly twenty years ; and now he stood before me in this 
far-distant wild, with features as familiar as if we had 
never parted. 

I recognized him at once, as he did me ; and, calling 
each other by name, we shook hands most cordially. 
Passing by his comrades on the grass, who never spoke 
or moved, he took me and K. into the house, and made 
rapid inquiry about our destination. I told him we were 
on our way to Mexico, and had been diverted from our 
regiment to indulge in a buffalo hunt, and were then 
headed for Lavaca, where we would join the regiment. 
He showed K. the crib, well filled with corn, and the 
stable, and told him to put our horses and mule up and 
feed them, bringing first our luggage into the two-roomed 
cabin, which was flanked by a small kitchen of hewn logs, 
of which the dwelling-house was also made. One or two 
more small but tidy buildings, which might have been a 
smoke-house or store-rooms, were all the houses in view. 
He never left me a moment, but to return at once after 
giving orders to his comrades and the old negro woman, 
who was cook, and the only other member of the family. 
He seemed to know nothing or care nothing about the 
Mexican War, and never mentioned it. Neither I nor he 
made much allusion to our early life ; and no questions 
were asked by either party. His companions never moved 
or spoke, whilst we had yet time to see them before dusk 
set in. The horses were fed, our supper ordered and 



132 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

eaten by us three only, and after dark I saw them no more. 
Whilst I saw them, however, I closely scrutinized their 
features ; they seemed generally to be other than Amer- 
icans, stout, beastly-looking men as ever "scuttled ship, 
or cut a throat." And, above all, I could see that they 
did not at all relish our arrival or company. And, whilst 
their Captain had, no doubt, in a word or two, posted 
them as to who we were, and what our mission was, they 
seemed to have only a sullen scowl for us. I saw no do- 
mestic stock, nor wagons; the corn, if raised by the ban- 
ditti, being brought on horseback, no doubt, or taken 
from the far settlements. 

As I said, the buildings and one post-and-rail fence, 
nearly square, rested upon the jungle, and the jungle 
was water and quicksand ; from the south to the very 
north there were none but Indians ; west was the inter- 
minable waste to the Rocky Mountains ; east hundreds of 
miles must be passed before reaching civilization ; and 
south an inpenetrable jungle, a mile wide, full of quick- 
sands, cut them off from the nearer settlements on that 
side. Against Indians and police attacks they seemed 
secure. It could not be supposed that these rough men, 
steeped in habitual crime, could appreciate the sentimental 
reasons which secured me in the good offices of their 
leader. Supper over, we saw no more of the other men. 
There were no beds; and, K. being put upon a blanket 
in one room, the Captain and I lay down together, in the 
other, on the same buffalo skin. I observed that he bar- 
red the doors, and laid his pistols within reach ! Nothing 
was said, but I saw at a glance the situation — he was 
standing in my defense against his band ! There was not 
a man in his following who was not his superior in 
strength, but not one seemed his rival in quickness of 
movement and intellect. They may have had equal cour- 
age, but quickness — other things being equal — is the 
superior force always, when arms are used. So I rested 
well that night. The next morning early, having fed our 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



*33 



horses and breakfasted, by the assistance of our host we 
saddled up and started south. 

The creek and wide jungle ran due east, and we were 
instructed to follow the banks nearly a mile, when a dim 
path would show us the crossing, which, following a slightly 
blazed trace on the trees, led us in a very tortuous way 
across the wide flat of trees, quicksands, and jungle. Not 
trusting to K's discretion, I had not told him of the history 
nor the name of our host, and he was much surprised at 
the narration. The men had left the ranch, and now the 
pathway led far up toward the starting point. Might not 
these outlaws conclude to kill us at last, with or without 
the consent of their leader? And where and to what am- 
buscades did our way lead us? Perhaps where we might 
be picked off without the dangers of a death-struggle. I 
told him to have his arms and eyes in readiness ; I be- 
ing before, Billy in the middle, and K. following up in the 
rear. If I saw danger, I was to jump off and he was to 
follow, and each to make a determined defense. K., who 
had shown so little fortitude under unusual surroundings, 
was perfectly cool and courageous where men were to be 
met. So he readily accepted the situation. We had more 
than half passed the jungle, and turned our faces more 
directly toward the south, when, being relieved of the lit- 
tle apprehension of danger which I had felt, I thought of 
going into the other extreme — from tragedy to comedy. 
Such is human nature. Looking back, and seeing K. with 
compressed lips and quick eye scanning every bush, and 
passing near a tree of some size, I jumped off, and stood 
with rifle in hand. He, as by agreement, also jumped off, 
and brought his rifle in position. I squatted down so that 
I could see him under Billy's belly ; and, watching his in- 
tent expression, could not refrain from hardly suppressed 
laughter. K., not seeing anything, after some delay, turned 
toward me, saw my face, and comprehended at once the 
situation. He was very angry; and, moving up to me 
very rapidly, threatened to use extreme violence. 



134 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

I said: "K., you are a fool! Remember the lost days; 
if you were to kill me, you would never find the way out 
of the jungle! " 

Seeing that I was calm, but in good humor, he broke 
into a laugh, and admitted that I was right. After a long 
travel, we reached the settlements, and at length arrived 
at Lavaca, where the regiment had not yet got ready to 
move west, after less than a month's absence, fully satis- 
fied with buffalo-hunting. 

In every man there remains something of the Divine 
nature, however fallen ; and the secret of my late defender's 
banishment remained with me. Long since, no doubt, the 
parties, as well as K., are dead; and the name shall die 
with them. 



CHAPTER VIII 



General Wool invites me to join his command. — Wild Horse and Turkey- 
hunting.— John U. Waring.— Thomas F. Marshall.— James S. Jackson.— 
The march to Monterey, 1845.— Gen. z - Taylor.— Gen. W. O. Butler.— 
Gallagher's experience. — The Mexican hacienda. — Dr. Solon Borland. — 
Surrounded by 3,000 Mexican Cavalry, our force of 75 surrenders. — 
Mier. — Salao. — Escape of Henry. — Threatened with murder. — I protest, 
and the Mexican commander relents. — Recognized by an Englishman, 
when nearly starved, and we are fed. — Mobbed at Queratero, we escape 
into a church. 



I WAS invited by General. Wool to join his corps d' 
armee, going north of General Taylor to Chihuahua, 
but which the sickness of some of my men prevented. At 
Camargo, General Patterson offered to take my company 
to Tampico, which I declined. At length, ordered by the 
War Department, we threw away most of our camp- 
equipage, to make room for water-barrels, which were to 
carry us over the desert, from the Nueces to the Rio 
Grande. 

In crossing the Nueces River, a narrow, deep, swift 
stream, we had but a shaky flat-boat. I was officer of 
the day, and directing the march. The wagons were 
put in without the horses ; and pushed up the opposite 
steep bank by the men. As many of the rank and file 
were educated men, used to slaves and unused to labor, 
we ever had much trouble to get them to perform the 
duties of cleaning the camp, and like seemingly menial 
duties. The wheels stuck in the mud, and the captains 
were unable to get the men to push the wheels. So I 
went over; and, pulling off my boots, and rolling up my 
pantaloons, went to the water's edge, and, putting my 
shoulder to the wheel, I said: "Soldiers, I command you 
to move up this wagon." All laughed, and the wagon 

135 



I36 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

went up like a top. I never afterward had any trouble 
about the work. 

Once, when I was officer of the day, a soldier fired 
off his gun in camp, contrary to orders. I rode up to 
the company, and inquired for the delinquent. The smoke 
was still rolling up in a small cloud in the midst of the 
company, so every one knew who had fired the gun, but 
all professed ignorance. So I called the officer of the 
guard, and ordered the whole command to be put in the 
guard-tent for the night. They at once gave up the of- 
fender. 

In the government of children, soldiers, and other sub- 
ordinates, many small offences must be allowed to pass 
unnoticed ; but, when there is a conflict of authority, the 
supremacy must be maintained at all hazards. One of 
the colored servants, having several carbines slung on his 
shoulder, was, by the dipping of the boat, thrown over- 
board. The guns sent him to the bottom. I saw at 
once that, unless he was aided, he would be lost ; so I 
threw off my clothes, being already half undressed, and 
plunged in and dived, and tried to find the poor fellow. 
Not a man moved to assist me. He never was seen 
again. 

Between the Nueces and the Rio Grande there were 
great droves of wild horses. The numbers would be con- 
sidered incredible ; but those who have seen the migra- 
tions of wild pigeons, reaching from one extreme of the 
horizon to the other, and darkening the very heavens, can 
form some idea of their numbers. I amused myself by 
pursuing them, screaming at the top of my voice, and en- 
joying the common excitement. They would run over 
bushes and the nopal (Indian fig,) which here began to 
appear ; and the noise was like the roar of a tornado. 
As a strange object appears, the leading males advance 
to the front, and the wings of the line, inclined backwards, 
includes the females and the younger horses. When the 
leaders give the sign of retreat by loud snorts, they all 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY 1 37 

take to their heels. Here, as in all animal nature, the 
leadership is on the part of the males. Let the Women's 
Rights people take note. These horses are generally 
bays, but some are blacks and grays. With their long 
and flowing mains and tails, they form a picturesque and 
grand appearance. The Comanches use them for saddle 
and draught of their tents; and are very fond of them 
for food. 

Knowing that wild turkeys frequented all the water 
courses, one afternoon, taking my rifle, I diverged from 
the march of the regiment along a jungle, and soon found 
a flock. I tied my horse to the shrubbery ; and, entering 
the dry channel of the ravine, whose abrupt banks came 
to my shoulders, I adjusted my gun, and began, with my 
wing-bone of the turkey before killed on my buffalo-hunt, 
to call. Soon I was responded to from several directions ; 
but one turkey especially seemed to answer my call, and 
approach me steadily. When it seemed sufficiently near 
for a shot, I heard the click of a trigger. There is no 
other possible sound like it in the forest ; so I at once 
lowered my head below the banks, and ran for my horse. 
On mounting, I saw coming out of the jungle, about three 
hundred yards below, a number of savages on horseback 
in Indian file. The regiment had crossed above, and were 
now west of the jungle ; and these Indians were, no doubt, 
moving further east, to make more distance between the 
forces. They had observed the approach of the regiment, 
of course, and seen me also ; and, when I began to call, 
they returned the well-imitated cheeps of the turkey, and 
I was in the very nick of being shot. When I was seated, 
I gave a defiant yell to my savage foes, and rode off at 
full gallop to follow the regiment, having some fear that 
I might be headed off; but I escaped. 

After the mob of the 18th of August, 1845, an ^ whilst 
I was still editing the True American, then printed at 
Cincinnati, one day, sitting in the office of my brother-in- 
law, Madison C. Johnson, John U. Waring entered. This 



6 



8 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 



man, a lawyer of Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky, 
was one of the greatest desperadoes in the State. He 
had killed several men ; and was the terror of every one. 
I had often heard of him, but had never seen him before. 
When he was introduced to me, he said: "This is Cash 
Clay, I suppose?" I said: "Yes." "Years ago," said 
he, "Dr. L. Marshall, Thomas F. Marshall's father, began 
playing the same role on the slavery question as you are 
now doing. I took a halter and showed him a limb of a 
tree ; and told him, if he did not give it up, we would 
hang him to it, and he gave it up. Now you will meet 
with the same fate." 

This man. who went always armed, with pistols and 
knives in boots, pockets, and elsewhere, was of a small 
but wiry frame, with dark hair and skin, and eyes also 
black, fiery, and furtive. 1, too, was well armed, and 
greatly his superior in personal strength. So, though I 
felt very much excited, I kept a cool nerve, and, advanc- 
ing on him till I could reach him with my knife, if need 
be, I said: "Mr. Waring, I exercise a constitutional right. 
I shall not follow Marshall's example ; and, whenever you, 
or your friends, attempt to use force, you will find me 
ready to defend myself." 

Finding that I was not to be intimidated, he asked 
some questions of Johnson, and left the office. I never 
saw him again. 

Soon after, at Versailles, as he approached the hotel, 
some unknown person — the son, it is said, of the 
keeper — from the upper story, shot him with a heavy 
rifle-ball ; which, striking him in the mouth, and ranging 
downward, produced a fatal wound. Seeing it was all 
over with him, he called for pen, ink, and paper; and, 
sitting up on the pavement, half strangled with the blood 
which surged from his wounded lungs, he made his will 
and died. 

When it was proposed to repeal the law of 1833, pro- 
hibiting the home slave trade, Thomas F. Marshall wrote 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 1 39 

some of the ablest papers of his life against slavery, 
which were published in pamphlet form, and widely circu- 
lated ; but, when the question grew serious, he proved a 
renegade, and turned, with the usual violence of such 
persons, upon his former allies. When a member of Con- 
gress from the Louisville district, about 1842, he led the 
assault upon John Quincy Adams, the champion of the 
Right of Petition. The gallant old Puritan defeated the 
conspirators against American liberty, and signally chas- 
tised Marshall. Whilst the resolution for Adams's expul- 
sion was pending, he was furnished with Marshall's pam- 
phlet, and read extracts from it without giving the name ; 
and, when he quoted the famous conclusion of Marshall's 
parallel between free Ohio and slave Virginia — "Curse 
on the tyrant hand which planted this dark plague-spot 
upon her virgin bosom!" — Marshall's name, to the host 
of Southerners demanding the author, was given. That 
was the last of Marshall in the impeachment case! 

In the meantime, having returned to his native county, 
Woodford, in the Fayette or Clay district, he led the mob 
forces against me, was equally violent, untruthful, and un- 
scrupulous, and ultimately met the same fate as he did in 
Congress. 

T. F. Marshall's hereditary hatred of the Clays, and 
the terror of John U. Waring's halter, were some excuse 
for his assaults upon me. But his cowardice, and selfish 
purposes of riding upon the storm which he created, took 
away my usual magnanimity toward my political enemies, 
and filled me with sentiments of implacable resentment. 
So, when I found myself a Captain of a company in the 
same regiment with him, I knew that his insolent bear- 
ing would soon give me an opportunity for vengeance. 
Col. Humphrey Marshall was an amiable gentleman, and 
allowed the soldiers to change their captains. Under 
this arrangement, several of T. F. Marshall's men joined 
my company ; and the permission was withdrawn, as it 
was likely to deplete the ranks of his cousin. This occur- 



140 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

rence but aggravated the feud between us. One evening, 
when I was officer of the day, and the guard-tent was full 
of soldiers for several offenses, especially drunkenness, Tom 
came in also drunk. I immediately reported him to the 
Colonel, who took no notice of it. So, returning to the 
guard on horseback, I said, in a loud tone, so that all the 
regiment could hear it: "Officer of the guard, Captain 
Marshall has entered the camp drunk, contrary to orders. 
As he is allowed to go unpunished to his tent, I order 
you to discharge all the prisoners ; as I intend to en- 
force, so far as I have the power, equal justice in this 
camp." So the prisoners were released. Col. Marshall 
took no notice of it ; and there was not force enough in 
his power to have punished me. I thus became more 
than ever popular with the regiment. 

When we reached the west bank of the Rio Grande, 
I had already pitched my tent, and was aiding my men to 
set up theirs, when Marshall rode down toward me. I 
suppose he had mistaken mine for his company, as he 
was somewhat behind. I said to him: "This is my camp- 
ground, Captain Marshall." Whereupon, making some 
insulting remark, he turned upon his horse. I felt now 
that my opportunity had at last come. So, rapidly ad- 
vancing, I said to him: "Marshall, get down; we will 
settle our old feud now." He attempted to evade the 
issue, by saying: "Well; at another time." "The time," 
said I, "for men who wear swords, is now." "It would 
embroil the regiment," he replied. "That is a coward's 
plea. At Lexington, when men, women, and children 
were to be ' embroiled ' and murdered, you had no scru- 
ples in calling for blood." By this time the whole regi- 
ment were lookers on. So, drawing my sword, which 
flashed as a sunbeam, I advanced upon him. He turned 
his horse, and retreated in the direction of his company ; 
where, getting his pistols in his holsters, he returned on 
his horse. When I saw his ruse, I entered my tent, 
where I kept always loaded a splendid pair of duelling 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. I4I 

pistols ; and, with one in each hand, already cocked, I ad- 
vanced once more, saying: "I am ready for you." Mar- 
shall turned again, and retreated to his tent. The same 
evening he threw himself into the Rio Grande, and tried 
to drown himself. But, when the men fished him out 
half drowned, with grim humor he exclaimed: "I did not 
say, 'help me Cassius, or I sink' — did I, boys?" 

Thus fell Thomas F. Marshall. Before I was taken 
prisoner, James S. Jackson, in a duel, shot and wounded 
him. They were antipodes in character; and, Jackson 
being my friend, made Marshall his enemy. Thus was 
eternal justice vindicated. I scarred his soul, and Jackson 
his body. He sleeps in a drunkard's grave, in his native 
State, which no stone marks. Spring and summer come 
and go. No flowers shall ever bloom, or tears fall, upon 
his neglected ashes ; for, to his selfish ambition, he be- 
trayed the liberties of the human race, and his memory 
shall rest in darkness forever! 

My noble and gallant friend, James S. Jackson, was a 
native of Kentucky, of honorable ancestors. Of a hand- 
some physique, with a frank, flexible, and winning face, 
he was a man for men to admire, and women to adore. 
Returning from Mexico, where he did good service, he 
was several times elected to the Congress of the United 
States. When the Civil War broke out, he took his 
right place in the Union army ; and, as General, at the 
head of his brigade, in the battle near Lebanon, Ky., 
gallantly fell in defense of his country. 

Kentucky has already raised monuments in memory of 
some of her illustrious dead. They who struck to destroy 
the Union of these States are now the favored ones; but 
time will come when her true heroes shall be recognized, 
and their deeds of patriotism inscribed on marble and 
brass, and then the name of James S. Jackson will not 
be forgotten. 

General Taylor, having fought and gained his great 
battles east of the Rio Grande, and captured Monterey, 



142 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

was left inactive. Whilst the Democratic Administration 
was maneuvering to check his popularity and fame, which 
grew dangerous to party-hacks, by making the diversion 
and withdrawal of his troops to General Winfield Scott, 
who was advancing with the main army by way of Vera 
Cruz upon the capital of Mexico, Taylor received me 
with great kindness, as all the other generals had done ; 
and invited me to dine with him. At the hour named, I 
entered his tent, expecting to find, at least, plenty of good 
things, if no great ceremony, as the country was a fruitful 
one. But I sat down with the plainly-dressed hero 
before his camp-chest, and partook of salt-pork, "hard- 
tack," and camp coffee, with the General and his staff, 
among whom was Colonel Bliss, his aid and son-in-law. 
The General was no politician, but my history was not 
unknown to him, and especially to Colonel Bliss.* 

I was detached from the regiment; and, with Major 
Gaines, and two companions, was sent at once to the 
head of the column, at Saltillo, where General Wm. O. 
Butler was in command. Here, also, I was well received, 
and put in the advanced outposts, whilst the rumored ap- 
proach of Santa Anna's army was awaited. Whilst here, 
General John S. Williams, then Captain of Infantry Vol- 
unteers, came to me, told me his company was in revolt, 
and asked my good offices. I saw the company, told 
them of the danger of disobedience of orders, and per- 
suaded them to return to duty, which they did. Whilst 
at the advanced outpost, a small village, I was, of course, 
forced to be very strict in enforcing orders. One of my 

* Here, for the first and only time, I saw Jefferson Davis, who 
had also married General Taylor's daughter. For, though a native 
of Kentucky, he had early in life migrated to Mississippi. Davis 
was no better and no worse than the other rebels ; and, since 
Thomas A. Hendricks is elected to a post of honor, Davis de- 
serves a like recognition, if the Confederates are to remain per- 
manently in power. For, of all men in America, Hendricks least 
deserves honor from the Nation. — C. 1885. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 1 43 

company, James Gallagher, a very large Irishman, diso- 
beying orders, and using insulting language, I gave him 
at once a severe saber-blow and wound in the face, 
which brought him to order. The army regulation saber 
was rather a poor weapon for a cut, though it might well 
answer for a thrust. My sword happened to be of fine 
metal and temper ; and as, at the Hot Springs, in Arkan- 
sas, I had procured one of their noted whetstones, or 
hones, at leisure hours I sharpened my sword till it bore 
a razor's edge. I always hated shams of all sorts, and 
wanted a sword for possible use, and not merely for orna- 
ment. This fact had come to T. F. Marshall's ears; for, 
in excuse for his cowardice, he said I bore the sharpened 
sword of an assassin. At all events, poor Gallagher tested 
its metal ; but, to my surprise, on his return home, after 
I was taken prisoner, he stood as my friend against my 
envious calumniators, and political and personal enemies. 

Maj. J. P. Gaines being ordered by Gen. Wm. O. But- 
ler to take a small force and scout in the direction of the 
noted hacienda of Encarnacion, selected me as his Captain, 
and allowed me to choose the men. I took about thirty 
of the best men from my own and other companies ; and, 
with a few days' rations, set out with my command — 
Major Gaines assuming no authority, but going along 
with us. There were many villages in the route of about 
one hundred miles, but I always camped in the open 
plains, where our horses could get grass ; and each man 
was ordered to sleep near his tethered horse, so as to 
mount at once, and be ready for fight or flight, as we 
were on the best horses, and could outrun any Mexican 
cavalry. 

Without adventure, we entered on the third day, in 
the late afternoon, the hacienda (country-house) of En- 
carnacion. This hacienda, the property of a landed pro- 
prietor, was a large brick building with stuccoed walls, 
and a flat roof, similarly plastered. In extension of the 
walls was a quadrangular court-yard, in which our horses 



144 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

were corralled for the night. Around the flat roof was a 
wall about four feet high, with port-holes for musketry. 
The heavy doors, also, had salient angles in the walls, 
with similar perforations for defense — all intended as a 
fortification against robbers, who infest all Mexico. The 
owner had hurriedly deserted the premises, leaving some 
household stores ; and Dr. Solon Borland, a Major from 
General Wool's command, who had sent him also on a 
scouting party; was already in possession, having but 
lately arrived. As Borland ranked Gaines, he assumed 
legally the command. I protested earnestly against camp- 
ing in the hacienda. They said there was not a Mexican 
soldier in five hundred miles of us ; and determined to 
eat, drink, and be merry. This course was against all 
military rule and common sens^e. For a man who has 
the lives of others under his will and action, is bound to 
take all precautions for their safety, and leave nothing to 
chance. Besides this, in an enemy's country, they neg- 
lected to place a picket-guard in the leading roads to the 
hacienda ; and, instead, placed the night-guards on the 
roof of the house. At day-break, the alarm was given 
of the enemy's approach, and all called to arms, where 
we stood till the sun lifted the fog from the plains, and 
we found ourselves surrounded by three thousand of Gen. 
Minon's regular Mexican Cavalry. Gaines and Borland, 
who had treated my protest with contempt, were now as 
ready to come to me for help ; and, surrendering the com- 
mand to me, took places in the ranks. We were seventy- 
two, men and officers, all told, with very limited ammu- 
nition, without water or forage for our horses. A sur- 
render, then, was only a question of time. I at once 
ordered the doors barricaded, the men upon the roof, se- 
cure behind the parapet walls, and had the interior pave- 
ments torn up and carried above to assist as missiles; as 
our ammunition was very limited, and we had no cannon. 
As soon as it was light, Minon ordered his troops to 
dismount, and on foot advance to the storming of the 



OF CASSIUS* MARCELLUS CLAY. 1 45 

quasi fort. Long beams, cut from trees in the neigh- 
borhood, were carried by the soldiers as battering-rams 
for the doors ; and the troops on foot, with carbines in 
hand, under the command of Colonel Mendoza, were ad- 
vanced to the attack. I gave orders for the men to re- 
serve their fire, till I fired the first shot. I, then, alone, 
of all our force, stood pistol in hand, with my shoulders 
and head exposed. No other persons had been seen ; 
nor could they know, except from their scouts, our true 
numbers. 

The' battle-cry of the Mexicans that day was "Arista," 
-to which I responded "Alamo." At Alamo, in Texas, 
under Santa Anna, where David Crocket died, every man 
was killed but one, who escaped by some means to tell 
of the terrible massacre. The Mexicans very well knew 
that Alamo meant no surrender, but war to the death. 
The enemy had already advanced within pistol-shot, I 
had determined to fire upon the Colonel (I was sure of 
killing him), who had advanced close up to his men, and 
seemed to be urging them to the assault. They hesitated. 
At once a white flag was raised, and the forward move- 
ment stopped. 

There was in Borland's command a man named Henry, 
who had been made a prisoner at Mier, on the Rio 
Grande, before the war, and was now used as an inter- 
preter, acquainted with the country, and speaking the 
Spanish language. The officer bearing the white flag, on 
approaching, demanded the surrender. We said: "Send 
us a Major, the rank of our commander, and we will 
hear you." Soon the Major came forward, was admitted 
into the enclosure and detained, and Major Gaines sent 
to negotiate terms. When Gaines returned, we had a 
council of war; and, a surrender being deemed a neces- 
sity, Gaines was sent to conclude terms with General 
Minon. The treaty was thus concluded: 

1 st. The most honorable treatment as prisoners of war, 
known to nations. 
Vol. I. — 10 



I46 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

2d. Private property to be strictly respected. 

3d. The Mexican guide to receive a fair trial in the 
civil courts. 

Under this treaty, which was verbal, in the presence 
of witnesses, we surrendered about twelve o'clock on 
the 23d day of January, 1846, about a month before the 
battle of Buena Vista, which was about one hundred 
miles in our rear. Majors Gaines and Borland were al- 
lowed their side-arms, horses, and equipage ; but no 
others were allowed their horses or arms. Colonel Men- 
doza, with true old-time Spanish magnamimity, seeing me 
left afoot, gave me a very good Mexican horse, among 
the best, as he said, in honor of my gallant conduct in 
the defense. My pistols were delivered up; but my 
watch, and some other articles of value, left with me. 

Thus perished all my hopes of fame during the war. 
Nothing was left me but the ever faithful discharge of 
duty. And so, in the course of Fate, my life was spared ; 
and I came out of my apparent disgrace with more honor 
and popularity than any one of our regiment. 

Before the war, the restless, lawless frontiers-men of 
Texas made a foray upon the Mexican town, Mier, on the 
Rio Grande. The Texans were defeated, and made pris- 
oners, among whom was Captain Henry, and also a 
countryman of mine named Oldham. He spoke Spanish 
tolerably well. The prisoners were decimated, every man 
drawing the tenth black bean being shot. Henry and my 
countryman escaped death, but were taken on toward 
Mexico, to Salao, where they rose upon the guard, killed 
some, and escaped — some of them, through incredible 
hardships, to the United States ; but the most of them 
were recaptured, and confined in the prison of Perote. 

This strong fortress was built of stone and adobe, 
with a wide ditch and outer wall, and well guarded, 
day and night, by soldiers. These men, seeing death 
threatening them for their second offense, some of them 
made a successful escape. They first took up the pave- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 1 47 

ment of the prison floor, and dug a hole under it to the 
wall, which they nearly opened, leaving only an outer 
barrier, which could at once be removed. They slept 
upon blankets and skins upon the floor; and, spreading 
the debris under them, concealed them until the final 
night of escape. Of the blankets and spare clothing they 
made a rope long enough to reach over the outer wall. 
In the meantime, those of the least daring, declining the 
difficulties and dangers of escape, were in the habit of 
playing noisy games, and singing songs, to attract the 
sentinels, who were ready enough to amuse themselves by 
looking through the prison windows. Upon a dark, 
stormy night they ventured out, whilst the men inside 
were unusually diverting, and, tying a stone to the rope, 
threw it over the wall ; then, lifting themselves up, sailor- 
like, escaped. Henry was among them. My countyman 
was nearly starved, and suffered greatly for water. One 
day, when near perishing, and lying in a cave, he placed 
some pebbles in his mouth to cool his tongue, when, to 
his great joy, he found a small spring seeping through 
the sand and gravel. Thus refreshed, he made new 
efforts, and reached Texas. Now, when we surrendered, 
Henry was recognized, and severely questioned, so that 
he was sorely troubled, fearing that he would be shot. 
As he was the only man of our force who could speak 
Spanish (I knew a little, mostly from books), he was 
spared as an interpreter. 

Setting out, the day of our capture, for the city of 
Mexico, under a strong guard, commanded by Col. Zam- 
bonino and Lieutenant Cruset, Gaines and Borland were 
riding fine horses. Henry was on a pony, and I mounted 
upon the good animal which Col. Mendoza had given 
me ; while the other men and officers were in column of 
twos on foot. 

Lieutenant Cruset, a Spanish Catholic, had been taught 
English at my old college of St. Joseph in Kentucky, and 
was no doubt selected for that reason to go on the guard. 



148 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

As the men approached the old field of Salao, they natu- 
rally thought of the old affray, and began cursing the 
"Greasers," and boasting how they could destroy them. 
Cruset hearing these threats, told Zambonino, who at 
once ordered Gaines and Borland at a distance to the 
front, leaving me in command. In the meantime, Gaines 
and Henry had exchanged horses, Gaines having selected 
the best racer in the regiment, instead of his own inferior 
horse ; and Henry consulting me, I agreed that, as the 
Mier Expedition was against the laws of Nations, no war 
having been declared, the United States could not inter- 
pose in his behalf. So he determined to run for it; and, 
going down the ranks under the pretense of closing them 
up, he put spurs to his horse, and, leaning forward, as a 
racer, to diminish the surface of his exposed body, he got 
a fair start before the guard could draw their carbines 
and fire. They pursued him at once, lances in hand. 
But the American horse was too fast for the Mexican 
cavalry, so Henry soon distanced them; but, imprudently, 
he rode his horse to death, and was found by some 
scouts from Butler's command, lying half dead and groan- 
ing by the wayside, and taken to camp. 

The information he brought, however, proved of great 
service to our cause ; enabled Taylor to advance to Sal- 
tillo to take command, and gain the great victory of the 
22d of February, 1846, at Buena Vista. In the mean- 
time, Col. Zambonino, who was in advance with Gaines 
and Borland, returned to the prisoners, and ordered them 
to be lanced — " martez fos." But I, seeing if a struggle 
once began, we would be all massacred, ordered the 
prisoners to lie down, to show no resistance would be 
made, which they promptly did ; when, taking the lassos 
from their horses, the Mexicans tied their hands. I was 
accused of all the trouble, and ordered by the two ser- 
geants in advance to be lanced ; whilst the Colonel held 
an immense horse-pistol to my breast, and Cruset threat- 
ened me with his sword. In as good Spanish as I could 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 149 

muster, mixed with English, which Cruset understood, I 
protested that the men were innocent, and knew nothing 
of Henry's movements ; that, although Henry had advised 
with me, I took no part in his escape, as it was to save 
himself, as he had been a captive of Mier and a prisoner 
at Perote, and feared death at all events. Hesitating, 
they then ordered my hands to be tied. I then said, that 
I had received honorable terms of capture, and the at- 
tempt to tie my hands was a breach of the terms of sur- 
render, against which I again protested. The Colonel, 
seeing all safe from danger, ordered me at once to be 
released, and we all proceeded on the march. 

For a few days the men and officers on foot remained 
tied on the move and at night, but were soon released 
from this precaution. Before many days we met Santa 
Anna's army on the plains. They showed great bitterness 
toward us, and made signs of stabbing us ; and some, 
speaking English, declared they would not leave an Amer- 
ican on that side of the Rio Grande. But, when we came 
to Santa Anna, who was riding with his suite in a car- 
riage drawn by six horses, with postillions and outriders, 
in great style, I could but think of Taylor and his tin- 
cups. Calling for the chief of our force, he made many 
inquiries ; but our officers gave him very little real in- 
formation. 

The march from San Louis Potosi was over a narrow, 
sterile plain, with a few poor peasantry thinly scattered 
along the foot-hills ; and, of course, every available species 
of live stock had been seized and used — the poor owners 
having nothing but what they could conceal in time in the 
soil, or drive into the dreary wastes and hills. I saw 
no evidences of a commissary department, but with the 
General-in-Chief. He was very fond of cock-fighting, like 
most Spaniards and Mexicans ; and he had coops made of 
diminishing bottoms, or stories, and suspended on donkies 
and mules by a strap on both sides of the pack-saddles. 
These were full of cocks, herded and driven by a muleteer, 



150 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

and which he fought and ate when wanted. So passed 
on the General to his defeat at Buena Vista. 

We observed that these troops were armed with new 
British muskets, no doubt a gratuity from "Perfidious 
Albion." And so we worried onward to the celebrated 
mines in Potosi, half starved for water and food — at 
times, no doubt, eating mule meat. 

Whilst we were lying in our guarded quarters, with no 
sign of coming rations, an Englishman came in and asked 
if Mr. Clay was among the prisoners. I said: "That is 
my name." " Cassius M. Clay?" "Yes." "Did I not 
hear you speak in the Tabernacle, in New York City, in 
the year 1844?" "I spoke there," said I, in not a very 
pleasant humor. He thereupon retired ; and soon sent us 
a cold ham of mutton, well stuffed, after the French style, 
with garlic, and other accompaniments, upon which all the 
officers feasted with great avidity; and I suppose the sol- 
diers had like fare. So I felt quite grateful to John Bull, 
who, I must say, at many times in my life I have found the 
truest of men. For, as Emerson says: "Of all men, the 
English stand squarest in their shoes." The Texan offi- 
cers were in fine humor, and paid me the characteristic 
compliment of saying: "Clay, you ought never to com- 
mit a crime ; for, no matter to what part of the world you 
should attempt to fly, your face would expose and con- 
demn you!" Borland and Danley were low-bred fellows, 
but full of wit. 

So we passed on to Mexico; the animosity of the pop- 
ulace increasing as we approached the city. We had a 
hard time of it, often wanting food, and were then sup- 
plied, as we thought, with dog or mule-meat, which last, 
grazing on the desert plains, was the substratum of our 
commissary stores, being about the only available food. 
The women, however, in all countries the most charitable, 
would run out with eggs and the staple beans and 
tortillas, and relieve our hunger, as we passed ranches 
and small villas. At Queratero the mob rose against 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. I 5 I 

us, and stoned us. We ran into a church, horses and 
all, by order of the officers, when the doors were closed, 
and th.us saved ourselves, as the Mexican superstition 
makes the churches secure places of refuge. 

In all countries, and in all religions, the most ignorant 
are the most superstitious and intolerant. When the 
"Host" is borne in procession from one church to an- 
other in the streets, all persons are expected to prostrate 
themselves ; and, failing to do so, are knocked down, and 
sometimes murdered. So once, whilst at St. Petersburg, 
on a State occasion, entering the vestibule of the church 
of Alexander Nevski, with my military chapeau on, I was 
quickly advised to take it off; as the custom requires 
even monarchs to take off their hats in the churches. 
And at the Kremlin gate, where a saintly image is 
painted, all persons, on entering, take off their hats. 

Unhappily for priest and peasant, religion and mor- 
ality are often far apart; and the greatest sinner is often 
the most devout. In "the good time coming," more 
and more may we hope to see these two systems "one 
and indivisible! " 



CHAPTER IX. 



The City of Mexico. — A friend in need. — Dr. Solon Borland's enmity. — The 
Water-Cure cures me. — Approach of General Scott. — Removed to To- 
luca, Capital of the State of Mexico. — Journey thither. — Character- 
istics of its People noticed by Humboldt and Pritchard. — Lolu. — In- 
dian gravity over-rated. — Liberation and Return to City of Mexico. — 
Exchanged, and leave for Home. — Reception in Lexington. — Earth- 
quake. 



OUR entry into the City of the Montezumas was as 
romantic as the earlier adventures of the Spaniards. 
We were, as the soldiers got foot-sore, mostly upon don- 
keys and mules ; and were halted near the city walls till 
the failing moon should throw a shadow upon the streets 
of the famed city, and thus save us from the vengeance 
of the populace. 

About midnight the moon sunk into the west, and 
darkness began to shadow the doomed city. Santa Anna 
had confiscated the church property, and the Catholic 
clergy had raised a revolt, and actual war was now going 
on. The eternal snows of the distant mountain of Popo- 
catepetl was yet brightly tipped with the moon's rays, 
which, by an optical illusion, seemed to be in the very 
skirts of the city's walls. Thus, in 1870, whilst I was in 
Colorado, an Englishman undertook a morning walk to 
the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, which were, in fact, 
fifty miles or more away. All the city were in arms ; and, 
with the roar of the cannon in the streets, was the accom- 
paniment of the musketry from the flat housetops, with 
their continuous rattle and flashing lights. We were qui- 
etly marched to a monastery, which was now used as a 
State prison, and there quartered. The officers were 
separated from the rank and file; and soon we heard a 
152 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 1 53 

rush — the rattling of chains, and a volley of musketry. I 
supposed they were shooting our prisoners ; but it turned 
out that the convicts, having dug a hole under the walls, 
were shot as they emerged into the open space. 

I here passed one of the most memorable nights of my 
life. So our entry into the halls of the Montezumas was 
not one of triumph ; but it was, at least, one of discipline. 
It showed the vanity of human aspirations ; and how 
"Man proposes and God disposes." To me it was a 
school of value, which taught me also the vanity of self- 
elation, and the necessity of some great principle of human 
happiness as only worthy of our love. And thus, perhaps, 
I was better fitted for carrying on that great conflict which 
Providence rested upon individual action ; and which re- 
sulted at last in triumph. 

Mexico, the capital of the Republic, is too well known 
now to require description. It is about 20 north latitude, 
upon table-land, several thousand feet above the level of 
the sea, with mountains of eternal snow looming up in the 
distance. The modern city, of about 250,000 inhabitants, 
is regularly built of stone and brick stuccoed. The houses 
are Spanish in style, the best, three or four stories high, 
running down to one in the poorer parts. The streets 
are regular; and with the churches and parks and public 
buildings, the city, with its surroundings, is one of the 
finest in the world; and Baron Humboldt so expressed 
himself — he who had seen all the leading capitals of the 
nations. 

There is no winter, really ; the winter being simply the 
rainy season, when rain falls regularly about half the day, 
and then the sun comes out as in a May day. Hence, 
there are no fires in the Mexican houses, except the fur- 
naces of charcoal from the mountains, with which the most 
delicious cooking is done. Nowhere else does man so 
enjoy existence of itself. Even the most energetic can 
sit for hours in the shade ; and the pulsation of the blood, 
passing through the arteries and veins, is a positive pleas- 



154 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

ure. And well may it be said of this country, as it was 
related of Calypso's isle, that the clime is eternal spring, 
and the lands bordered with perpetual flowers. I shall 
say more on the causes of this lovely clime hereafter. 

We remained prisoners in the monastery of St. Jago, 
and in the city on parole, till Scott began, after many vic- 
tories, to threaten the city. We had proposals from the 
Mexicans to join them, as they had a high appreciation 
of our prowess in arms ; but this we positively declined. 
We had poor fare in prison, and slept on our horse- 
blankets on the floors, being allowed a few hours each 
day for exercise in the prison-yard. But an American 
citizen, a long time in Mexico as a stage-driver, and other 
employments, and married there to a Mexican woman, was 
very kind to us, loaning us small sums of money. His 
name was Noah Smith, and I believe he is yet alive near 
Boston, Massachusetts, and should have a pension. We 
had a hard time of it, however, in prison, being infested 
with vermin ; and, scarce of shirts, we had to pull off the 
one we wore, and, in the sunlight from the window, kill 
these annoying pests. 

I was poisoned by the lead pipes which bore the water 
from the main aqueduct, coming from the mountains, into 
the prison. I had made an enemy of Dr. Solon Borland 
by saying he ought to have been shot for trapping us in 
Encarnacion ; so, though I never was in more pain in my 
life, when he prepared a dose of medicine for me, I re- 
fused to take it, preferring the chances of nature's forces 
to the treacherous doctor. This but increased the offense; 
for which he avenged himself by setting Captain Danley, 
himself, and others, to slandering me, whilst I was yet in 
prison at Toluca. I had a bowl of water and a towel ; so 
I tried the water-cure. I wet the towel, and laid it on my 
abdomen, leaving the evaporation to relieve me of the 
great heat there. This gave me relief somewhat; and 
I would fall asleep. But, when the pain returned, with 
the drying of the towel, I wet it, and fell asleep again. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 1 55 

So, having a powerful physique, I recovered — much, I 
thought, to the mortification of the Arkansas doctor. 

When General Winfield Scott approached the city, the 
military commander sent for us, to order us to the city of 
Toluca, beyond the mountains, telling us to be ready for 
to-morrow. We had all been on parole for a short time, 
but which we hardly dared take any advantage of, on ac- 
count of the enmity of the populace. The interview was 
conducted by an interpreter; and Majors John P. Gaines, 
Solon Borland, Captain Danley, and Lieutenant George 
Davidson, as they claimed, surrendered their parole. I was 
present, and did not so understand it. It certainly was 
not so understood by the commander ; and he was the 
one deceived, at all events. For no sensible man will al- 
low that the Mexican general intended to let the officers 
go free. These men, however, escaped by the means of Mr. 
Smith and others, and reached Scott's lines. I had also 
offered me the opportunity of escape by Smith, and some 
British denizens, but I refused ; being bound by my parole 
d 'honneur to stand. Captains Heady and Smith, of Ken- 
tucky, and other officers, also refused to violate their 
parole. Besides, our escape would aggravate the condi- 
tion of the men of our commands ; and I felt that it was 
my duty to stand by them, and for which these poor fel- 
lows showed much gratitude, For, when the dishonored 
officers slandered me, on their return home, these soldiers, 
from every-where in Kentucky and other States, most ably, 
through the press, vindicated me from all calumny. 

The capital of the Mexican Republic is the City of 
Mexico, and so the capital of the State of Mexico is the 
City of Toluca, or, as it was called in the time of the 
Spanish conquest, Tolocan. This city, or village rather, 
in appearance, at least, is but a long day's journey by 
horseback from the City of Mexico; but it seems, in fact, 
as far away as if it were a thousand miles. The capital 
of the nation lies, as is well known, upon an elevated pla- 
teau, between two mountain ranges, opening toward the 



156 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

north, which sinks in level as it widens northward ; thus 
throwing the drainage, which flows from the mountains, 
into the city, and adjoining lakes, in that direction. This 
plateau is about seven thousand feet above the sea-level. 
At the conquest, over three hundred years ago, the greater 
portion of the valley was covered with forests ; but the 
destruction of these conservative forces of nature, and the 
burning of the wood on the mountains for coal and its 
other uses, has filled the once fertile valleys with arid 
sands and crusted nitre ; and the debris from both culture 
and forests have greatly filled up the lakes of ancient 
times. We entered the city from the north-west side ; 
and I do not remember any lake at all on that side. 
So, in time, the whole of these lakes will be filled up, 
and the climate made less agreeable, and the soil less 
productive. 

So, going to Toluca, the most of the route lies through 
wooded mountain passes, and is cut by deep and dark ra- 
vines. On the west side of the mountain range, appa- 
rently on the same level of seven thousand feet, you de- 
scend into the plain on which Toluca is built, with the 
mountain peak of the same name, fifteen thousand feet 
above the sea; and other mountains adding great sub- 
limity and picturesqueness to the scene. As this city lies 
in the latitude of 20 north, there is here perpetual spring; 
the winter being only a succession of rains for about half 
of the day, when the sun comes out, and all is fair again. 
Thus, from the altitude of the sun, tropical plants flourish, 
and their fruits mature ; whilst, in the shade, the general 
temperature is about 65 Farenheit — the May-day of 
temperate climes. Hence, we have here all the fruits and 
cereals of all climes, and nature aggregates her favors as 
nowhere else on earth ; for' the site, between the Atlantic 
and Pacific Oceans, and the high table-lands, are nowhere 
else duplicated. 

On these Arcadian lands, the lemon, the orange, the 
fig, the banana, and other tropical fruits, are mingled with 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. I 57 

many products of temperate zones. And all that can be 
desired for use or luxury is profusely grown. The effect 
of tropical vegetation upon one born and grown to man- 
hood in forest surroundings was intense in all its sensuous 
influence. The impenetrable jungles, thickly set with im- 
mense feather-shaped foliage and palms ; the hundred spe- 
cies of cactus, with their grotesque shapes of trunk and 
leaf, flower and fruit ; the Agave Mexicana (century plant), 
here planted in fields as Indian corn, and in a few nights 
sending their enormous stems, with myriad flowers, into 
the air, twenty and more feet in height; the many-colored 
parrots and parroquettes, and other tropical birds of rare 
plumage ; and the many cultivated and wild flowers and 
vines, all filled me with intense enjoyment. Then the 
snow-clad mountains, rising abruptly from the plains, with 
ever-flowing rivulets, toward which countless herds of 
sheep and goats, with herders of a novel race and dress, 
were moving, amid the songs of the birds and the rip- 
pling of the waters, made this the Arcadia of the an- 
cient's imagination. To me, at least, it was an elysium. 
The eye, the ear, the flow of the blood through the veins 
and arteries — existence itself — was a positive pleasure; 
so that I felt as an yEolian harp, which was played upon 
by the breeze ; and my every sense was responsive to all- 
lovely Nature. 

An American race, long anterior to the Mexicans and 
Aztecs, who understood astronomy and worked in the 
metals and built great cities, once occupied these lovely 
lands. Lakes and seas, encouraging commerce, have ever 
been the seats of civilization. And these, with the ever- 
lasting spring, developed the highest American progress — 
mental and physical development ; and this higher race 
was the result. They were called Toltecs ; and Toluca, or 
Tolocan, as it was called at the conquest, was, no doubt, 
the seat of their ancient kingdom. 

At all events, I found here a new race of natives, un- 
like any others in America. They were tall, and fuller in 



I58 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

person, with light complexion, some having blue and others 
grey eyes, and dark auburn hair. Used all my life to the 
breeding of pure races of live stock of the finest forms, be- 
sides my love of art in painting and statuary, and having 
studied, during my anti-slavery career, all the best authors, 
French and English, on the unity and diversity of the Hu- 
man Race, I was not only greatly interested in these peo- 
ple, but, I think, brought a discriminating judgment to my 
aid, unusual in travelers. I am sure their characteristics 
were not the result of Spanish crosses ; for such are com- 
mon in the Mexican capital, and are not at all like the 
Tolucans. The women, especially, would interest me ; and 
I found them beautiful, with large brains, more thoughtful 
minds, and more taste in all ways than other Indians with 
whom I had mixed freely, from the Rio Grande to Toluca. 
The hair is worn in two plaits, tied with yarn or colored 
ribbons, hanging down the back. The chemise is cut low, 
and the arms well exposed. To the waist is bound several 
tiers of petticoats, made of fine native cotton-cloth, with 
very highly-colored and well-contrasted borders. The legs 
are generally bare; and the feet (like the hands), well 
turned, were covered with Indian sandals, at times highly 
ornamented with beads and needle work. No bonnets 
or head-dress is worn ; but the elegant native rebosa, 
or shawl, covers the head and part of the face, which at 
will reveals at times the full anterior busts and rounded 
arms. 

Spanish is spoken more or less in all Mexico ; and the 
better class of Indians always speak it. So, when I got 
to Toluca, as usual, I made haste to enter society as far 
as I was able. In this provincial town, having no com- 
merce, except the Federal Governor and a small suite ol 
dark Spaniards and Indians, there are rarely seen any of 
the white race. So I was as much a curiosity to them as 
they were to me ; and I had no great difficulty in making 
acquaintances among the Tolucans. Thus I was spending 
my time very agreeably. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. I 59 

In all countries the features of nature have been the 
great substratum of poetry and heroism. In cities, na- 
ture, too, is appreciated, but it is human nature ; and, as 
rural scenes are comparatively unknown, women and men 
and domestic animals are all that remain. Consequently, 
around these concenter the highest interest — the female 
singers, dancers, and actors, to most persons being the 
highest ideals of earth. But here were all the great ele- 
ments of nature — lakes and lands, the sublime, the beau- 
tiful, and the picturesque ; and, added thereto, the loveli- 
est of women. 

I had spent the last years of my life in the most ex- 
hausting use of the nervous powers ; and, repose was not 
only a needed rest, but the greatest luxury. Among these 
primitive people there was one who especially interested 
me. She was one of two daughters of a widowed mother; 
her brother being engaged as a merchant of fruits, carried 
on burros and mules to the capital-market. She bore the 
name of Lolu — the Indians having no surname. As we 
Americans were the enemies of her people, being called 
"Los Barbaros del Norte," we had but small claims upon 
their friendship ; but what has woman to do with these 
affairs of State ? She saw in man a universe of her own ; 
and, like most women, that she found sufficient for all her 
being. But, as Scott won battle after battle, and the 
routed stragglers came home in defeat with wounds, the 
rage of the rabble increased, till the officers in charge had 
to place us in the monastery for security ; and, yet more, 
so intense was the excitement, that they dared not trust 
our safety even to the sanctity of that place, but deemed 
it prudent to place a guard of regulars to save us from 
the vengeance of their countrymen. 

We were still nominally on parole ; but, in fact, close 
prisoners. The entrance to the prison was through an 
open court, or rather alameda, or park, which was used 
as a fruit-market, and always full of people. So, to pass 



l60 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

out, it was necessary to go through the guard and all 
these people, when recognition would be immediate death. 
I tried to get the officers to join me in a sortie ; but 
they all declined, and protested against such folly. But 
all things are possible when a woman is in the case. So, 
procuring a sombrero and serape — a Mexican hat, and 
blanket or shawl — I was ready for action, having no 
weapon but a pocket-knife ; but any one the most effi- 
cient would have been useless against such odds. So, 
putting on my hat, and drawing my serape close about 
my face, I set out. The guard, of course, as we were 
on parole, had orders to pass us ; so on I went, and was 
unnoticed by any one. Lolu's cottage was surrounded by 
tropical plants ; the fences were a species of cactus, so 
closely planted that a cat could not pass. These were 
full of flowers and fruit, and filled with the perfume of 
the orange and the lemon. So the whole grounds, and 
the white walls of the dwelling, were literally shadowed 
in shrubbery and vines and perennial flowers. I entered 
without warning-. She was sitting alone in her usual lat- 
ticed porch, and sadly caressing her pet paroquette. This 
small pet was as full of brilliant colors as a humming-bird, 
and spoke many words in Spanish and Indian. This girl 
was about eighteen years old, of a stature above the me- 
dium Indian type, and more full in person. Her eyes 
and hair (which were the fullest and longest I ever saw,) 
were, the eyes grey, and the hair an auburn, but both 
apparently black. Her teeth were as fine and even as 
ever graced an Indian woman's mouth. Her dress has 
been already described. As I came in, she arose in aston- 
ishment, and turned pale with affright ; but, when I threw 
off my hat and shawl, and she recognized me, the color 
came as the winter fire through a heated stove, and, 
dropping her rebosa, she rushed, with open arms, and 
kissed — me? Not at all. The parrot, which bore the 
euphonious name of Leta, was unused to strangers ; and, 
when she saw I was not a Mexican, or, rather, a Tolucan, 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. l6l 

she dashed at my face ; and Lolu ran and caught her in 
her arms, and, kissing her, said: "Oh, Leta! Nuestro 
amigo, Sefior Clayo." * .... It was Leta she kissed. 
Of all the races, the Indians are the most modest, 
rarely looking at you ; but they are not as grave as is 
supposed. A young man, not sixteen years' old, went 
with my father, in the British War of 1812, and was 
taken prisoner, being wounded in the hand. The Indians 
took him into Canada, and imposed on him hard work 
with the squaws. He was frequently joked by the older 
men ; and the boys continually annoyed him, much to their 
amusement. They would say to him: "Little boy, did 
you come here to fight Indians? Don't you wish you 
were at home under mamma's bed, wringing the cat's 
tail?" And then they would laugh as loud as a country 
tavern-keeper. One day, as usual, Jack Wood was sent 
to the spring to bring water ; the chiefs were sunning 
themselves on the grass, and looking on. As often as 
Jack would get nearly up the bank, an Indian boy would 
trip his feet, and down would go boy and crock and 
water ; and this was several times repeated, much to the 
amusement of the chiefs. At last, Wood said he was so 
angry that he determined to revenge himself or die. So, 
as the boy approached him, he set down his water-crock, 
and, throwing him down, poured the water over him, and 
rolled him down the hill — crock, water, and all going to- 

* Humboldt and Pritchard both speak of the Mexicans, of 
course including the Tolucans, as distinguished from other In- 
dians by the greater quantity of their beard and mustaches. 
Prescott says, upon their authority: "Thus we find amongst the 
generally prevalent copper or cinnamon tint, nearly all gradations 
of color, from the European white to a black almost African; 
while the complexion conspicuously varies among different tribes, 
in the neighborhood of each other." (See, also, Humboldt's Cos- 
mos, 2 vols. ; and Pritchard's Physical History of Man, in 4 vols.) 
About the color there is no doubt; the only question is, were 
these Toltecs? — C. 1885. 
Vol. I.— 11 



1 62 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

gether. He then seated himself also on the bank, deter- 
mined to stir no more. Upon this, they laughed louder, 
and more than ever ; and, coming up to him, lifted him up, 
and said: "Much brave; big warrior." And thereupon 
they gave him a gun, and set him to hunting. So, laying 
in provisions, he made a pretended hunt, and escaped. 

In all the villages in Mexico I saw something of In- 
dian life. They had every-where adopted the Spanish 
dances, using the guitar, or, rather, a smaller instrument, 
which they called the "guitarrilla." With this music they 
dance, in their houses, but mostly on the grass in the 
open air, cotillions, waltzes, and fandangos. The fan- 
dango is danced by the lady and caballero facing each 
other. They dance forward and back, cross over, turn, 
etc. — like Burn's scene in Tarn O'Shanter — getting all 
the time more active, and the music becoming more furi- 
ous. The man holds his hat in his hand ; and the woman, 
as the dance warms up, at times drops her rebosa on her 
arm, or into her hand. 

I find the common people of all nations very similar 
in their dances ; the difference being rather in form than 
intensity. But I wander. The "girls and boys" at times 
came in and danced at Lolu's house, mostly waltzes ; but, 
as I did not waltz, she paid me the compliment to pre- 
fer my conversation, such as I could make it in poor 
Spanish, to the dance. As I said, these people are not 
always grave. I was, by my mother's side, dark-haired, 
with dark grey eyes ; but my skin was very fair, after my 
father's family. One day the girls, thinking it could 
hardly be possible that I was so white without paint, got 
into a concerted romp with me, and, dipping their hand- 
kerchiefs in an earthen bowl of water, which they had 
prepared, all came down upon me at once, and tested my 
color ; but I stood the test better than would many mod- 
ern fair ones. 

One day I found Lolu alone, and, as usual with 
women, ancient and modern, when in grief, with hair di- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 1 63 

shevelled ; tears were streaming down her cheeks, and 
she, holding out a handful of bright feathers, told me the 
cat got through the open lattice at night, and killed and 
ate up poor Leta ! I never saw her look so interesting 
before ; but so it is that, with or without art, they ever 
hold us the more firmly, the more they seem to be least 
thoughtful of our capture. Was this emblematic of our 
ever-drifting life ; our sunshine and shade ? when the most 
real joys fading into the dead past, leave us but rose- 
tinted memories of the days which are gone, — of the 
scenes which come no more, and whose only traces are — 
tears ! Poor Leta ! Poor Lolu ! 

Scott had now been sometime in possession of the 
capital, awaiting the terms of peace, as they were being 
negotiated by our government through N. Trist. We, 
like Mrs. Heman's captive knight, were forgotten. Our 
officers began to complain ; and I summoned up energy 
enough to go to the governor, Oliguibel, and protest 
against further detention. The generous commander, pro- 
pitiated by our honorable conduct of parole, said to me : 
" Well, be ready at once ; and I will give you and your 
men an escort, and send you to General Scott." So, the 
next day, we were on the march to Mexico, on parole; 
and soon exchanged for the many officers and men whom 
Scott was too happy to turn loose. Never shall I forget 
how the stars and stripes, mounted upon the gate, and 
the public buildings of the romantic city, filled me with 
pride and joy, as the emblem of our triumphant arms, and 
home once more. 

General Scott, whom I now saw for the first time, in- 
vited me to dinner; and, saying many pleasant things, 
sent words of souvenir to my brother-in-law, John Speed 
Smith, who was quite an admirer of the gallant general ; 
and who now looked upon the second Cortes as a promi- 
nent candidate for the Presidency. So we were soon on 
our way home, with the first returning column, under 



164 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

General Harney, by way of Vera Cruz and New Orleans. 
The sea was very boisterous; but we reached New Or- 
leans safely, and in good health and spirits. We were 
there mustered out of service ; and took different routes 
to our several homes. 

Some of the captives of Encarnacion had gone with 
me to Toluca; others were sent in the direction of Tam- 
pico, and many others had gone home from other parts 
of the army, who, somehow or other, had proven to be 
my devoted friends. The officers who had violated their 
parole, and whom I said ought to have been shot for 
their folly in being trapped in the hacienda, and who 
were envious of seeing an enemy like Colonel Mendoza 
paying tribute to my gallantry, had spread all kinds of 
calumnies against me. These, the soldiers, now in several 
States, had warmly refuted, by voluntary proofs in many 
journals ; so that, when I arrived at Lexington, no man 
in the army, not even General Taylor himself, would have 
been received with so great an ovation. The gallant 
"boys" who had shared my defeat by the slave-holders, 
and who had before no means of showing their devotion, 
now rushed out with wives and children to meet me. 
Robert S. Todd, my old and faithful friend, the father of 
Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, was the one selected to give the 
address of welcome ; and so Lexington was never before, 
or since, even, in such a state of enthusiasm. I was es- 
corted by all to my home, where a collation had been 
prepared ; and where all, without distinction, gave and re- 
ceived welcome. * 

* Capt. C. M. Clay. — This gentleman arrived at New Orleans on the 24th 
ult., in the steamship Alabama, from Vera Cruz, and is daily looked for at home. 
It will be seen, by the proceedings of a public meeting held at the Court-house on 
Monday evening, in our columns to-day, that the compliment of a public reception 
on his return to his home in this city from his long captivity in the gloomy prison- 
walls of the city of Mexico — a captivity incurred while in the discharge of his duty 
in the volunteer service of the country — is to be extended to him. The military 
companies composing the "Legion" of this city have also determined to extend to 
him the same compliment; and, in a notice to that effect, it is announced that 
thirteen guns will be fired at 6 o'clock on the morning of the day of his arrival. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 1 65 

Whilst in Mexico I felt two very marked "tremblors," 
or earthquakes. In the Santa Anna theatre, a part of 
which was a hotel, I was rooming in the third story, and 
while fully awake, but yet lying in bed one morning, the 
doors of the clothes-press moved visibly on their hinges, 
making a slight noise. I at once knew it was an earth- 

His reception by his numerous personal friends in this city will be most enthusi- 
astic. — Lexington Observer and Reporter. 

For the Observer and Reporter. 

RECEPTION OF CAPT. C M. CLAY. 

A public meeting, convened in pursuance to previous notice, was held at the 
Court-house, on Monday evening last, to take into consideration the propriety of 
making some suitable demonstration of respect for Capt. Cassius M. Clay, on his 
arrival at his home in this city, now daily looked for. The meeting was organized 
by the appointment of Robert S. Todd, Esq., as Chairman; and John F. Leavy, 
Secretary. 

The following resolutions were submitted, which, after able and eloquent ad- 
dresses from the Hon. George Robertson, James McMurtry, and Henry C. Davis, 
Esqrs., svere unanimously abopted: 

Resolved, That as a demonstration of our esteem and confidence, we cordially 
welcome Capt. Cassius M. Clay to his home, and tender him a public reception. 

Resolved, That in the opinion of this meeting, he possesses all the highest and 
noblest qualities of the soldier; and that, in the voluntary proffer of his life to save 
the lives of his men, we have an evidence of that heroic and self-sacrificing spirit 
which would have won renown on any field, and is the brightest ornament of the 
true soldier. 

Resolved, That he was impelled to go forth to fight the battles of his country, 
from the loftiest considerations of patriotism and duty. 

Resolved, That in his tender care for the sick and suffering of his men ; his 
sympathy for them in the perils and hardships and privations of a painful and 
harsh imprisonment ; his provision for their wants, in expending the last dollar of 
his money, and selling his coat, we see the generous warm heart alive to the afflic- 
tions and distresses of the honest and humblest. 

Resolved, That the citizens of Lexington, irrespective of party, tender to C. M. 
Clay a cordial reception, and join in the reception. 

On motion of Col. Lewinski, Col. D. S. Goodloe, Col. Jesse Bayles, and 
Edward Oldham, Esq., were requested to act as Marshals on the occasion. 

The meeting then adjourned. 
J. F. Leavy, Secretary. R. S. Todd, Chairman. 

Capt. Cassius M. Clay. — This gallant Kentuckian reached this city on Satur- 
day last, and was welcomed by his fellow-citizens by a display of enthusiasm never 
before witnessed in this country. At an early hour, men, women, and children, 
from all sections of the country, might be seen wending their way to the city and 
at different points forming themselves into groups, when the valorous deeds of our 
Cassius were recounted to them by our modern Tribunes — not by public function- 
aries, but by those who were eye-witnesses to his martial deeds, and who were con- 
versant with the country in which he was detained a prisoner. About I o'clock, 



I 66 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

quake. My first idea was to run down, and into the 
street; but, on reflection, I concluded that, in so doing, I 
would be in equal, or greater, danger than in remaining. 
So, with a Turk's sense of fatality, I remained in bed. 

Again, when at Toluca, sitting in a portico with some 
companions, a more sensible shock was felt. The Mexi- 

P. M., the omnibus, which conveyed him from Frankfort, reached the suburbs of 
the city, when the assembled multitude were made acquainted with the fact by the 
booming of cannon, the echo of which died away amid the shouts of Kentucky's 
noble yeomanry. Thither they sped their way, when he was greeted with cheers — 
loud and long — which made the welkin ring. He was then welcomed home by 
Captain Jouett, chairman of the committee appointed for that purpose, in an appro- 
priate speech. Having undergone great fatigue in traveling, Captain Clay was un- 
able to speak at any great length; but invited everybody (about 500 people,) to take 
supper with him in the evening. He was then escorted to his residence by three 
military companies and an assembled multitude. During their march through the 
city, the merry peals of all the church bells in the city filled the air with music, and 
lent a charm to the spell which bound the hearts of all. The windows of every 
house on the route were filled with Kentucky's fair daughters, who waved their 
handkerchiefs in token of their welcome, as the procession moved on. 

At an early hour in the evening, the house of Captain Clay was filled to over- 
flowing by his friends, who were anxious to exchange with him salutations of friend- 
ship, and bid him, in propria persona, "welcome home." — Lexington Intelligencer. 

Captain C. M. Clay's Arrival and Reception. — The firing of cannon at 
early dawn on Saturday morning last, in conjunction with printed advertisements 
freely circulated among our citizens, made known to them that this gentleman would 
certainly arrive at 2 o'clock, P. M. Long preceding that time, a large concourse of 
people, male and female, in carriages, on horses, and on foot, had assembled at the 
outskirts of the city to greet his coming. Hundreds, if not thousands, anxiously 
awaited his approach. His long and arduous captivity in a hostile country, and, 
during that captivity, the magnanimity he exhibited toward his fellow-sufferers, who 
had less advantages, and the fact that he was debarred, by unavoidable misfortune, 
from participating in any of the glorious victories which have crowned our arms in 
Mexico, altogether had awakened and enlisted the warmest sympathies of his fellow- 
citizens. 

Minute guns were fired as he entered the city. After reaching the principal 
street, Captain Jouett, in behalf of the military, welcomed him home in a brief, elo- 
quent, and tasteful address, to which Captain Clay, in appropriate and feeling terms, 
responded. 

Robert S. Todd, Esq., who presided at the meeting of the citizens, which re- 
solved to give to Captain Clay the compliment of a public reception, then took the 
stand; and, in a most beautiful and cordial manner, welcomed the gallant Captain 
home, which met a warm response from the multitude which surrounded him. 

After Mr. Todd concluded, the procession moved on to the residence of Captain 
Clay, and there took leave of him. 

The reception, however, ended not here. The friends of Captain Clay had pre- 
pared for illuminating the large lawn which fronts his residence; and, upon his invi- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 1 67 

cans cried out " Tremblor ! '" But, as we were near the 
ground, and a slight roof over our heads, no one moved. 
In no event, in human experience, does one feel more 
utterly helpless than during an earthquake, unless it be 
in the midst of a mob, such as that I went through in 
1845; and when all that seemed possible was stoically to 
submit to fate. 

tation, our citizens thronged his house and premises after night, where an elegant 
supper was prepared for them, and, after a friendly and cordial interchange of feeling 
and sentiment, the great mass of people quietly dispersed. — Observer and Reporter. 

Captain C M. Clay. — A. C Bryan, W. D. Ratcliff, Charles E. Mooney, John 
J. Finch, and Alfred Argabright, who were among the Encarnacion prisoners, have 
published a card in the Lexington Observer speaking in the highest terms of the treat- 
ment they received from Captain Clay during their captivity. They say: 

"When Captain Henry made his escape, and the Mexican commander, excited 
by that event, gave orders for the massacre of the Americans, Captain Clay ex- 
claimed: 'Kill the officers; spare the soldiers!' A Mexican Major ran to him, 
presenting a cocked pistol to his breast. He still exclaimed: 'Kill me — kill the 
officers; but spare the men — they are innocent!' Who but C. M. Clay, with a 
loaded pistol to his heart, and in the hands of an enraged enemy, would have 
shown such magnanimous self-devotion? If any man ever was entitled to be called 
'the soldier's friend,' he is. He was ever watchful and kind toward us, allowing 
every privilege that would be granted by our enemies; turned all orders and com- 
mands into advice and consolement; and, upon our march to the city, would take 
turn by turn, allowing us to ride his mule, that we might stand the march of forty 
miles a day ; divided the last cent of money he had with us, and resorted to every 
sacrifice to make us happy and comfortable. He disposed of his mule, when he 
found it necessary — the only animal he had — his buffalo rug, his watch, and all 
his clothes but one suit, and supplied our wants. He not only acted in this manner 
toward those who were under his immediate command, but to all ; and expressed his 
regret that he was unable to do more." — Lexington Observer and Reporter, October 
20, 1847. 



CHAPTER X. 



The Political Situation. — Nomination and Election of General Z. Taylor 
President of the United States. — Defense of Henry Clay. — Results of 
his Defeat. — The Dissolution of Parties in 1848. — "The True American" 
becomes "The Examiner." — Emancipation Convention in Frankfort. — 
Freedom of Speech. —A Memorable Day. — My conduct in Mexico in- 
dorsed by "The Salt River Tigers." — The New Constitution. — Death 
of Cyrus Turner. — Kentucky Constitution passed in 1850. — Five Letters 
to Hon. Daniel Webster. 



TOWARD the close of the year 1847, parties began, 
as usual, to prepare for the next Presidential elec- 
tion. I said, in reply to Robert S. Todd's speech, that I 
returned with my views on the slavery issue unchanged. 
The gallantry of General Z. Taylor in the war had made 
him many friends ; and the effort of the Democratic Ad- 
ministration to weaken his success, by the diversion of 
General Winfield Scott's march upon Mexico, added to 
Taylor's supporters, who felt that injustice was intended 
toward a gallant soldier. Taylor was a man of moderate 
capacity, but a fine character; and had been successful as 
a soldier. Like most of the regular army, he cared but 
little for politics ; had rarely voted, but was regarded as a 
Whig. The mere politicians in the Whig ranks, long fol- 
lowers of Henry Clay, began to weary of continued de- 
feat, and saw in Taylor the way to power. Mr. Clay, in 
the last canvass, made no new friends,' and lost many old 
ones. Taylor had no enemies ; and, his being a slave- 
owner, which would lose him some Whigs, would be com- 
pensated by the many Southern Democrats, and others, 
who would fill their places on account of his military 
glory. My personal quarrel with the Whig Party, who 
struck hands with the Democrats in the overthrow of the 
1 68 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 1 69 

Trite American; my alienation from Mr. Clay, and my 
gratitude to General Taylor, for his friendly reception 
of me in the army, threw me at once into the ranks of 
Taylor's friends. Besides, it was a part of my policy to 
destroy the old parties, to build up the new one of uni- 
versal liberty. General Taylor's friends, seeing that Clay 
had the old party machinery, advised Taylor to take an 
independent position ; and he was regarded as an inde- 
pendent candidate when he was nominated at Baltimore 
by the nominal Whig Convention. I entered at once into 
the canvass, joined by the secret friends of Taylor. With 
my own followers, we carried the Fayette delegation to 
the State Whig Convention in favor of Taylor, I being 
one of them. At Frankfort I assumed the leadership, 
being untrammelled by party ties, and lacking that timid- 
ity which partizans always show in new movements. 

All the factions of the Whig Party acted with me. I 
dwelt upon Taylor's glorious victories, his noble character, 
and the injustice done him. Our policy was to appoint 
delegates favorable to Taylor in a quiet way; and this 
we accomplished, so as to have a majority. The Clay- 
ites, seeing that a defeat here would be ruin in the Na- 
tional Convention, were afraid to take a vote in his favor. 
Garrett Davis, who was the friend of my brother, Brutus 
J. Clay, of the same county of Bourbon, and who had 
gone to Lexington during the mob of 1845 m m Y de- 
fense, was true to Clay, and was put forward as their 
leader. He made a violent and untrue assault upon me 
personally ; but I had higher game in hand, and did not 
intend to be diverted from my purpose. So I paid no 
attention whatever to the little man. 

As soon as the Convention was over, I went immedi- 
ately to New York City, and, in the Courier and En- 
quirer (the newspaper of James Watson Webb, who fa- 
vored Taylor), published an open letter, in which I stated 
that Mr. Clay's own State delegation was in favor of 
General Taylor ; and deprecated any further waste of 



I70 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Whig strength in attempting to nominate Clay. He, 
however, came out in an open letter, advocating his own 
nomination. This was contrary to the pledge of his 
friends at Frankfort. So I wrote a second letter, in which 
I arraigned Mr. Clay for undue ambition; and reviewed 
his claims to continued support in the bitterest letter of 
my life. The Clay-Whig press roared as a herd of wild 
beasts. Their last chance of promotion, ambition, or tri- 
umph was gone forever. Clay was badly beaten in the 
Convention ; and Taylor was nominated and elected — 
Millard Fillmore, of New York, being the Vice-President. 

Among others, the New York Express, edited by the 
Brookses, published a violent and untrue attack upon me, 
and refused to publish my reply. Thereupon, I wrote, 
from the Astor House, to them, demanding, in a deter- 
mined way, justice ; for I was ready, in some form, to de- 
fend myself — with pen or sword. So they, next day, 
published my response. As soon as Clay was beaten, I 
was filled with regret. 

This letter of mine to Henry Clay was written before 
the publication of my "Writings and Speeches," in 1848; 
but I did not insert it, because there was no time for cool 
consideration. Nor will I produce it now, but do justice 
to Henry Clay. The letters were written under circum- 
stances which excited in me the greatest indignation, in 
view of all the facts known to me, and aggravated by a 
misapprehension of other alleged facts. 

The mob-movement, begun before the 15th, was called 
several days beforehand, and was to assemble on the 18th 
of August, 1845. 1° tne interval, Henry Clay and Robert 
P. Letcher left Lexington in a private conveyance, and 
went to the Virginia White Sulphur Springs, unexpectedly 
to everybody. James B. Clay, a son of Henry Clay, was 
Secretary of the Revolutionary Committee of Sixty that 
sent my press to Cincinnati. As the handbills generally 
circulated in the interior of Kentucky called for my death, 
it will be seen that I stood here upon impregnable 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 171 

grounds in my letter. The friends of Clay in the Frank- 
fort Convention had pledged themselves that, if we took 
no vote in favor of General Taylor, Mr. Clay would not 
be a candidate ; and we took none. When, therefore, I 
read Mr. Clay's letter, consenting to run for the Presi- 
dential nomination, I felt that a new wrong was added to 
the old. And yet more, Samuel Shy had just written to 
me, then in New York, that the " Old Chief," and other 
counsel for James B. Clay, had driven them into trial, with 
my counsel absent, etc. "Old Chief," as Clay was gen- 
erally called, turned out to be Chief-Justice Robertson. 
So all these accumulated wrongs, as I saw them, drove me 
to turn on my enemies with all the power I could wield. 

Such is the history of this noted letter. When I 
found I was wrong in the assertion of Mr. Clay's pres- 
ence at the trial, I wrote a letter correcting my state- 
ment; and, when I was cool, I felt sincerely sorry for the 
angry method of my warfare. So much for my defense. 

After I compared Mr. Clay with others of modern 
times, I saw how infinitely more honorable he was than 
they, and how much he deserved to be President ; and, 
above all, I saw how so many of his pretended friends 
stabbed him in the dark, till my anger against him turned 
into pity, for his undeserved fate. Candor now compels 
me to reverse my opinions of his conduct ; and I give the 
reasons. 

When Wickliffe was beaten by me, in 1840, Mr. Clay 
voted for me. Then arose the slavery issue. I was again 
a candidate in 1841 ; and Mr. Clay advised me not to run 
again, but to await a more favorable time. This I saw 
was said in good faith. We stood on different ground. 
Such time for me would never come. I therefore ran 
again in 1841. Now, as Mr. Clay advised me not to run, 
and I did not follow his advice, I do not think that I had 
any right to denounce him in a political sense for leaving 
me to my fate in 1845. I judged his duty to me by my 
own heart, not by the logic of events. 



172 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

With regard to the Texas issue, Mr. Clay never con- 
tradicted his "Raleigh letter" by his "Alabama letter." 
The Abolitionists put a wrong construction upon his letter, 
which my grievances against him caused me to follow, 
without sufficient study of his real opinions expressed in 
those two letters. So that the term "Janus-faced," though 
apparently applicable, on mature reflection was only so in 
appearance. 

Long years ago his sons and I have been on friendly 
terms, both of us understanding the truth about these let- 
ters ; and, had I space, I would publish them now, with 
the view of giving a true historical account of a personal 
and political affair in which I claim that the "gallant 
Harry" was right, and I was wrong.* 

* Henry Clay. — This gentleman might, had he seen fit, have 
prevented the mob at Lexington. At any rate, he could have 
tried to stop it. But what did he? According to the papers, he 
left Lexington on the day before the mob, well knowing what was 
in progress, and abandoned the friend who had been so faithful, 
and who had done so much for him, to the tender mercies of an 
infuriated mob ! Is this the chivalrous, the gctie?vus ' ' Harry of 
the West?" Even so. And Henry Clay's son, James B. Clay, 
acted as Secretary of the Mob Committee that broke up the printing 
office ! What think you of this, Whigs of the North ? — Chicago 
News, 1848. 

For the Louisville Courier. 
TO THE PUBLIC. 

The extraordinary war which has been made upon me by the 
press since my publication of the Clay letter, though unparalleled 
for vindictiveness in the history of this country, strikes no terror 
into my spirit. I have lived through more concentrated and bitter, 
if not more wide-spread calumny, than this — biding my time, re- 
posing upon the integrity of my purposes, and the ultimate tri- 
umph of truth and justice, till, in the place of my degradation, 
those same men, in public assembly, and by solemn vote, mag- 
nanimously bore testimony to my honor, integrity, and patriotism. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. I 73 

Henry Clay's statesmanship is eminently proved by 
events. The ultra Abolitionists elected Polk, like the 
Prohibitionists did Cleveland — their antipodes. As Clay 
predicted, then came war; and the constitution was vio- 
lated in the annexation of Texas. 

The slave-power, encouraged by success, made Texas 
a slave State, capable of division into many States, and 
thus brought on the Civil War. 

As Clay foretold, Texas, after all, is a free State. But 
the end is not yet. The Bourbon Democrats are in 
power. Will they save themselves by making Demo- 
cratic States out of Texas, and thus change the Senate? 

If Clay had been elected by the insane ultraists, in 
1844, might not slavery have been abolished peaceably, 

In that letter, upon the coolest examination, I find nothing to 
retract. I challenge the friends of H. Clay to its refutation. The 
spirit of the letter I am not by any means prepared to defend. 
No man feels more truly than I, that it is better to forgive than 
to avenge ! I feel no triumph over H. Clay's defeat. The faults 
which I attribute to him are such as flow from too great ambition. 
If ambition be the vice of noble minds, I am more ready to 
lament than to denounce. I regret that I have, in the discharge 
of my duty to the Whig Party, and the country, injured the feel- 
ings of H. Clay. I forbear to urge the misapprehension of facts 
which influenced me. A man who undertakes to instruct the 
public can not be allowed to plead ignorance, or mix personal 
feeling with the sacredness of country. For this, I am ready to 
suffer the penalty. — C. M. C, 1848. 

CORRECTION. 
White Hall P. O., Madison Co., Ky., May 19, 1848. 

Editor of the Lexington Observer and Reporter : 

Sir: — Upon my arrival at Lexington, on my return from 
Mexico, I learned that Hon. H. Clay was one of the counsel 
against me in the mob case. Leaving home with that impres- 
sion, when Mr. Shy wrote to me that he had been forced into 
trial without my principal witness, without my other two counsel, 
and in my absence, saying that he had succeeded against the 
"Old Chief," I concluded that Mr. Clay was, of course, alluded 



174 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

and the conservative elements of the Nation now be in 
power in the Union? Ultra factions in all ages have been 
the ruin of States. 

Thus, whilst the Whig Party was divided into personal 
and political factions, and was hastening to dissolution, 
the Democrats were in no better condition. John Quincy 
Adams having attacked, or rather defended, the people 
against the attack of the slave-power on the Right of Pe- 
tition, had begun the political war which the Abolition 
Party had morally organized. He was sustained by Joshua 
R. Giddings, a Whig, and Salmon P. Chase and John P. 
Hale, Democrats, as the leading forces. Both parties 
began rapidly to disintegrate upon this one issue ; for Mr. 
Adams had summed it up long before Seward's "Irrepres- 
sible Conflict," by saying: "Slavery will fall before the 
Union, or the Union will fall before Slavery." 

The Democratic Party, which illegally annexed Texas, 
and had carried on a successful war, seemed to be in the 
course of a sure victory ; but a split occurred, which was 
fatal to its success. Martin Van Buren, who headed the 
Hunker, or Pro-slavery, Party in the great State of New 
York, opposed the annexation of Texas ; and, instead of 
being reelected by the accustomed courtesy, was super- 
seded by James K. Polk. So, when the election of 1848 

to ; as this was a designation familiarly used by his acquaintances. 
I have just learned, however, from a friend, that Mr. Clay was 
not present at the trial ; and, as I have given currency to the re- 
port, both by conversation and letter, on my first impressions, it 
is due to myself and Mr. Clay, that I should now make the only 
reparation in my power, by asking the publication of this card. I 
exceedingly regret this error of mine, as it is the cause of some 
injustice to Mr. Clay at a critical period ; and the public press, 
unfortunately, is not always as ready to repair an injury as to do 
one. Your obedient servant, 

C M. CLAY. 
P. S. — I presume Ex-Chief-Justice Robertson was alluded to 
by the designation of "Old Chief." — C. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 1 75 

came on, and Lewis Cass was made the nominee of the 
slave-power, Van Buren joined the Barnburners or Lib- 
erals. Nominated at Buffalo by all the elements of slave- 
opposition, including Chase, Giddings, Hale, etc., he car- 
ried New York, and thus beat Cass and elected Taylor. 
Whilst my sympathies were with the Liberal movement and 
all its elements, I canvassed for Taylor and voted for him. 
But, though I could well have held office under him, I 
declined being a candidate for any favor ; and pursued my 
one great aim — the overthrow of slavery by home-action. 

The True America?i was, during my absence, edited 
by my friend, John C. Vaughan, of South Carolina birth, 
but then an emigre and citizen of Ohio. My brother, 
Brutus J. Clay, my financial agent, thought it best, dur- 
ing my long absence and uncertain return, to discontinue 
the paper. As soon as I joined the invading army, my 
principal supporters, the Abolitionists and some of the po- 
litical foes of slavery, lost confidence in my purposes, de- 
nounced me, and ceased to take my paper. So, whilst it 
had steadily increased till the Mexican War, it now fell 
off in circulation. Thereupon Vaughan, taking my ma- 
terial and subscribers' list, located in Louisville, and started 
the Examiner ; for now there was no difficulty in carrying 
on an anti-slavery paper in Kentucky. So, on my return, 
I paid Vaughan for filling my unexpired list, and adopted 
his journal for all party purposes. 

In 1849 we held an Emancipation Convention in Frank- 
fort, at my instance, and put the State Liberal Party in an 
advanced position. * 

* Speech of C. M. Clay at the Emancipation Convention, Frankfort, 
Kentucky, May 4, 1849. 
C. M. Clay, of Madison, remarked that he had not trespassed 
on the time of the Convention. I know, said he, that I am char- 
acterized as impulsive, hot-headed, reckless, and passionate. I 
knew and felt that there was, even here, a soreness, an unwill 
ingness to hear me, though I had made so many sacrifices for the 
cause, and had fought for it, in my own humble way, so many 



176 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

The Convention was gotten up by me. It was my 
policy to commit as many men as possible to our cause, 
whatever the degree of their convictions ; so I kept in 
the background. But the resolutions of Judge Samuel 
Nicholas, as a substitute for the original ones, (weak 
enough, surely!) wtmlcl not allow me further silence. 
Others fell by the wayside ; I went on to the end. 

I had exposed, in the True American, a vulnerable part 
in the State Constitution, by showing that the prohibition 
of the emancipation of slaves, without compensation, ad- 
mitted the power to liberate with compensation ; and the 
right to act, therefore, implied the right to discuss. So 
the slave-power, defeated at Lexington, intended in time 
to change the Constitution and make slavery perpetual, so 
far as a Constitution could effect that object. The last 

battles. I was conscious of that feeling here, and therefore felt 
disinclined to say anything at all. I differed from the majority of 
the Committee on the resolutions reported ; but, in deference to the 
judgment of the Committee, I forebore to say anything against the 
report, but openly, here in my place, gave in my adhesion. It 
was a very large Committee — one from each county represented. 
They sat in council four or five hours. There was, in committee, 
a full, frank, and candid interchange of opinion. The report of 
the committee is the result of that free consultation. It has been 
reported and is now in the hands of the Convention. We fanatics 
are willing to take your compromise. We think it too moderate; 
and I have been reproached by some because I yielded. But I 
have satisfied myself that I did right in yielding. 

But is it not astonishing, when we are thrown into confusion 
because of the moderation of our councils, that we are, at this late 
hour, presented with another proposition, cutting vay far under the 
report of the Committee ? And we who have, it is feared, compro- 
mised too much already, are asked to come yet lower down ! 
Really, Mr. President, if I did not know my friend, Judge Nicho- 
las, to be at heart a true friend of this cause — if I were left to 
judge him by his proposition only — I fear I should be constrained 
to set him down as an emissary from Robert WicklifFe, sr. , or 
John C. Calhoun. I am the more surprised at the proposition, 
because of the knowledge I have of his intelligence and his devo- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. I 77 

Legislature had called a Convention for such change, and 
the members were to be elected this year (1849). Feel- 
ing now strong enough, by my war record and the cur- 
rent of events, to take the stump and enter upon a full 
discussion of the subject, an event came to my aid. Two 
gentlemen, school-teachers, I believe, invited me to speak 
on slavery at Lawrenceburg, Anderson County, Kentucky. 
I accepted the invitation, and named the day. 

This was an untried field, where the appeal was to be 
made to the people, with all the excitement and dangers 
of a face to face debate. Lawrenceburg, the county seat 
of Anderson County, on the south-west side of the Ken- 
tucky River, was then the poor, cross-roads town of a 
broken, hilly county. It is now quite a flourishing place, 
made rich by the celebrated Anderson County "Bourbon," 

tion to this cause. I can not, however, sit down without offering 
a very few remarks, giving reasons why we should not entirely 
postpone the fight. The report of the Committee leaves us at 
liberty to go to work now ; to-day we may begin the fight, and 
not cease to battle until the field is ours. What if it be true that 
politicians and the money-power are against us? Will our silence 
bring them to us? No sir. They were against us in '78. They 
have been against us for fifty years; they have grown strong from 
our supineness, and powerful because of our inaction. The last 
Legislature put its leaden heel upon us while we slept. Thank 
God ! the touch of that heel has broken our slumber. I have 
looked to the coming of this day with the deepest, the profound- 
est solicitude. It is but yesterday that I was denounced as a 
disturber of the peace — yesterday we were threatened with the 
halter — to-day we speak in the capital of the State, and we may 
speak and be heard in every part of the State. The tongue is 
again free to speak the language of the heart. This is a mighty 
progress in the cause. It is but the feeble foreshadowing of the 
great results in store for us. Talk to me about party alliances! 
Have not the parties forgotten their allegiance to the right in all 
things, to fasten upon the country this curse of Slavery? 'Tis but 
the other day that the bans were celebrated in Fayette, between 
Whigs and Democrats, that slavery might be perpetuated ! Shall 
we be bound down by old party ties while our adversaries are 
Vol. I. — 12 



I78 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

which its pure and plentiful water and fine grain allow. 
There were few slave-holders ; and the people, far re- 
moved by lack of rail and McAdam road from commerce, 
were rude but independent. Such I deemed a favorable 
place for testing the possibility of free discussion ; for the 
rencounter at Russell's Cave had taught me that debate 
was more dangerous on the stump than discussion in the 
press. Seated in my buggy, behind a fine trotter, on a 
pleasant spring day in April, and passing over much good 
road, and twice over the broken, picturesque cliffs of the 
Kentucky River — at other times the travel would have 
been delightful. 

forgetting or forsaking everything for Slavery? The party in favor 
of freedom is growing every-where. It has broken through party 
restraints at the North. It will do so here. 

Some say: "It is imprudent to agitate." Shall we vote our- 
selves agitators? Others may so call us, but are we prepared to 
say that we are agitators ? For myself, I am for agitating this 
question. If we are to rid ourselves, we must agitate it. When 
a convention of crowned heads assemble in the old world to estab- 
lish for their people pure republican governments, then may we 
expect slave-holders to meet to emancipate their slaves, and not 
before. As republics are only established by agitating the ques- 
tion of freedom, so is emancipation to be accomplished only 
through the agitation of the subject. We must convince the 
people — the real people — of its importance, before it can be 
done. How are we to get at the non-slaveholders but by agita- 
tion? The newspapers, as a general thing, do not reach the non- 
slaveholders. We must seek them out — at the cross-roads and 
places of public resort in their neighborhoods. The newspapers 
are already open. Even that old Hunker press, the (Louisville) 
Journal, has been compelled to open its columns to the friends of 
emancipation. But we want something more than the press. We 
want men on the stump. We want to get at the ear of the peo- 
ple. The resolutions of the Committee display a magnanimous 
moderation. Let us pass them, and then do battle for them. 
Let every good friend of the cause buckle on his armor and 
" never say die ! " * 

*The resolutions were passed, as reported by the Committee. — C. 1885. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



179 



In Mexico I had felt two earthquakes — one in the 
Santa Anna hotel and theatre, at the City of Mexico; and 
the other at Toluca. The idea is known to all to be that 
there is no escape by any human effort; and running from 
the houses into the street is about as dangerous as staying 
within. So, in the great struggle which I was now enter- 
ing anew, there was no outside support; and I had to de- 
pend upon myself and fate for the solution. 

Self-defense is the first law of nature; and, standing 
upon my rights of State and National Constitutions, I was 
allowed full discussion of all subjects — even slavery; being 
responsible by legal process for punishment in its abuse. 
At Lexington, on the 18th of August, 1845, tne combined 
physical power of the community was too strong for me, 
and my press was removed to Ohio ; but I stood impreg- 
nable in my moral strength of self-sacrifice and fortitude, 
which proved at last triumphant. So, now, I had all 
the moral and legal forces on my side ; and so much 
physical power as good arms and a brave heart could 
give me. 

If there was such a thing as evil in the world, slavery 
was an evil. If there was such a thing as justice among 
men, then justice required the liberation of the slave ; and, 
as to rights: "The greatest of all rights, was the right ol 
a man to himself." If God governed the world by general 
laws for the greatest happiness of all his creatures, I was 
in the right direction of the Divine will. If there ever 
was a Special Providence inspiring the human soul, now it 
should be felt. Every human thought and act tells in the 
great destiny of the race, as molecules of water make up 
the ocean ; so each individual is an essential part of that 
force which directs all to the great ends of our earthly ex- 
istence. The inspired Scriptures and natural law leading 
in the same direction, it only remained for me to go in the 
path of duty, to sow the seed of good fruit. The results 
were in the regions of the unknown, but the end was with 
God. 



l80 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

These were the thoughts which were ever present with 
me in so many trying scenes ; and, as Cyrus, before the 
great battle which decided the fate of Babylon and the 
Persian Empire, drew up his army and sacrificed to the 
gods, and thus filled his men with faith and moral power, 
so I went to my solitary struggles leaning confidently upon 
the arm of the Omnipotent One. 

Never shall I forget the emotions of that day. Before 
the destruction of the forests, the spring was earlier than 
now. But it was now about the middle of April. The 
buds were more than half swollen into leaf; the blue- 
grass was so rich in green as to assume that peculiar 
color which in Kentucky only seen gives it that famous 
name. The plowmen were whistling in the fields ; and 
the girls and boys, white and black, in the gardens, were 
sending out peals of laughter and merry voices in their 
pleasant work. In crossing the Kentucky River I was 
brought face to face with its bold cliffs of limestone and 
its banks covered with wild-flowers and wild grape-vines, 
and the dog-wood and red-bud in bloom. The fish were 
playing in the clear waters; and the redbirds and orioles 
and thrushes, and other songsters, were building their 
nests, and pouring forth their mingled voices in one 
universal jubilation! I could but exclaim, with Byron: 
"Beautiful! how beautiful is all this visible world!" It 
reminded me of my earlier days — so many spent in these 
same ever lovely "hills and dales." Now they were more 
beautiful than ever. It might be "the last" to me "of 
earth!" "Our life is a false nature. It is not in the 
harmony of things — this hard decree — this uneradicable 
taint of sin ! " 

How strangely is the mortal and the immortal blended! 
How these earthly ties held me from my noble aspirations! 
Why should I give up all self-enjoyment for others' happi- 
ness ! Why not leave the wronged and the wrong-doer 
to remorseless fate ! Never before was I so shattered in 
my purposes! Could I, with all my sins, be the protege 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. l8l 

of a sin-hating God? Might I not die the death which 
the fool dieth at last? Then again my nobler nature 
revived. Had I not stood unharmed under the most 
depressing circumstances? Had I not been victorious 
against overwhelming odds? Why should I not hope? 
If I stood born of two natures, who made them but God! 
So, from the unseemly earth spring all the glories of ani- 
mal and vegetable life ! The rose-tree strikes its roots into 
the very cesspools, but its flowers are bathed in the beauty 
of eternal sunshine ! So strengthened, I went on with a 
security and a courage which nothing on earth could move. 

Thus filled with final resolve, I reached at night-fall 
my destined village. There was but one hotel, standing 
by itself, without trees, except a few scraggy locusts, and 
without a fence. But the landlord was kind ; my horse 
was cared for, and a palatable dinner and supper com- 
bined was provided and fully enjoyed. 

On inquiring about the gentlemen who had invited me 
to speak, I learned that they had left the county. Many 
reflections rushed upon my mind ; and the departure of 
my two friends was no favorable omen. 

In these primitive times there was a sawed log placed 
under the trees as a stand for the wash-pan, and a large 
towel of coarse flax, or hemp, cloth used in common. I 
had walked down stairs without my coat; and, of course, 
unarmed, was washing, when a half dozen men came up, 
and said: "Is this Cassius M. Clay?" '-Yes." "Well, 
we have some resolutions here, passed in public meeting 
of our citizens, which we, as their committee, are directed 
to hand to you." I read them. They were in the usual 
style, speaking of the dangers of incendiary talk about 
slavery ; and warning me that if I spoke it would be at 
my own peril! I said: "Gentlemen, I come here by the 
invitation of two of your citizens ; but, with, or without, 
such request, I stand upon my constitutional rights to dis- 
cuss any subject whatever that pleases me. Say to your 
people, that I shall address them at the hour published, 



1 82 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

at the court-house." So, bowing, they took their leave, 
and I went on washing. 

During all the forenoon not a person called to see 
me, nor did an) guest put up there. The truth is, I was 
as great an object of terror and avoidance as if I had 
come with cholera into the town. 

The court-house, a fairly large brick building, was on 
the same straggling common with my hotel ; but it was 
enclosed with a post-and-rail fence, and surrounded with lo- 
cust trees. The day was warm and pleasant ; and, hours 
before the time of speaking, the court-house was crowded 
to its greatest capacity, and many had climbed into the 
windows and filled many of the nearest trees, like black- 
birds at roost. At the hour named, looking closely to my 
two revolvers, and having them carefully near the mouth 
of my carpet-bag, with my Bowie-knife concealed in my 
belt, I walked alone to the court-house. By this time the 
crowd pressed to the very gate ; but, as I entered, they 
opened a lane as I advanced, no one saying a word. The 
same lane allowed me to pass into the court-room. There 
were three chairs on a raised platform, or dais, and a small 
balustrade, a few feet high, around these seats. Two of 
the chairs were empty, but the central one was occupied 
by a most remarkable man. He was a giant in frame, 
about sixty years of age, but then as fresh and vigorous 
apparently as a man of thirty-five years. I thought to 
myself, if you are to be my antagonist, I shall have a 
hard time of it. The whole audience was as still as if 
there had been but myself there ; each looking excited 
and pale, as men who are on the eve of action. I walked 
steadily to the vacant seat, and sat down with my carpet- 
sack by my side, and began to feel for my notes, which I 
generally laid on the stand, but rarely ever used. 

Wash (for such was his name,) rose up, and said: "I 
understand that this is Cash Clay," motioning his hand 
toward me, without looking at me. "You all know who 
I am. The boys who went to Mexico all say that Clay 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 183 

was their friend in and out of prison, standing by the 
soldiers, and dividing everything with them. I had no 
hand in the public meeting held here. But this I do say, 
that the man who fights for the country has a right to 
speak about the country. As I said, you all know who I 
am. I have lived here on Salt River all my life. I have 
forty children and grand-children, and they are all here. 
The 'Salt River Tigers' were out in Mexico; and they 
are here, too. Now, we will stand by Clay, or die ! " 
and down he sat. 

A great load was lifted from my shoulders. That spirit 
of love of country and fair play, which I had hoped to 
propitiate by going to Mexico, was now realized. I spoke 
boldly for two hours, and there was not an angry inter- 
ruption ; but, on the contrary, frequent and hearty appre- 
ciation, which could not be entirely suppressed. So ended 
the first anti-slavery speech. 

When I was invited to speak in the Lawrenceburg 
County Convention, in 1876, in favor of Tilden, the pro- 
gramme was broken twice — first at the fair grounds, and 
at night in the town — by enthusiastic calls for myself; 
for the speech of 1849 was remembered by many in 
1876, and several of the Wash family were present, who 
had been at the first public assembly of the people on 
my first visit. The company of "Salt River Tigers" is 
kept up to this day ; and they, too, were there. 

In a day or so, on the same visit, I spoke at Taylors- 
ville, in Spencer County. This would fix my speech at 
Lawrenceburg on about the 14th of April, 1849.* 

* From a Spencer County Journal. 

Mr. Middleton. — I presume the Secretary of the meeting has 
transmitted to you the proceedings of the friends of Emancipation 
in Taylorsville, on Saturday, the 14th. You may be pleased, how- 
ever, to hear, more in detail, the effects of the address of Captain 
C. M. Clay. 

The opinion, made up from the various reports, verbal and writ- 
ten, is generally entertained that Captain Clay is an Abolitionist in 



184 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

The efforts of the slave-power to change the Constitu- 
tion, which began in 1835, had now matured into a call 
of a Convention to take place in 1 849-' 50. By this time, 
finding that my political career had ended in Fayette, I 
removed back to my native home in Madison, where, also, 
on my return from Mexico, I had been received with great 
enthusiasm. Having broken the ice at Lawrenceburg, this 
Convention afforded a good field for political discussion. 
The only avowed candidate on the Liberal side was Thom- 
son Burnam, the father of Curtis Field Burnam, Assistant 
Secretary of the Treasury under Grant. 

As two delegates to the Convention were allowed to 
our county, Squire Turner, a lawyer of prominence at the 
Richmond bar, and Wm. Chenault were ultimately nomi- 
nated. I had two objects in view ; first, to propagate my 
opinions, and then, if the popular voice warranted, to be- 
come a candidate for the Convention myself. Whenever 
Turner spoke in public, I replied to him. The large mass 
of the voters here, as elsewhere in the State, were non- 
slaveholders, and it was to them that I most appealed. 

the most offensive sense; and the citizens of Spencer sympathized 
with it. The fact that the friends of Emancipation had invited him 
to deliver a public address on Slavery, naturally produced a feeling 
of surprise ; and every one went prepared to hear nothing but 
bitter denunciation, and wild, ranting fanaticism ! But they were 
disappointed ! He denned his position, and that of the Emancipa- 
tion Party in Kentucky ; and then proceeded to support that posi- 
tion in a speech of singular force and ability. For two hours the 
audience listened with profound attention to his earnest appeals, 
occasionally giving evidence of their gratification in murmurs of 
applause ; and, at the close, a perfect round ; and then dispersed, 
satisfied that he was not an incendiary ! 

Great good was done by that speech ; and the gallant Captain 
left Taylorsville with the good wishes of many who looked coldly 
upon him as he entered it. The friends of reform judged well 
when they selected him to plead their cause; and we doubt not 
he will find ample work during the present canvass. C****. 

Taylorsville, Apiil 16, 1849. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. I 85 

Turner and I had never been friends. Now, it was plain 
to all that I was beating him in debate ; and that my fol- 
lowers were increasing. The slave-power became alarmed, 
and rallied to Turner's support. Angry feelings began to 
arise, and the debate to grow more personal. This was 
Turner's policy, as mine was peace. At Tate's Creek, 
among his relations, he grew quite offensive in his re- 
marks, and I replied in an equal tone of defiance. The 
next meeting was at Foxtown, my immediate neighbor- 
hood. That lulled my suspicions, and I expected no as- 
sault there, at least. So, though I always went armed, 
and had pistols in my hand-sack, I had only a Bowie- 
knife when I spoke. Turner opened the debate, as usual ; 
but became extremely violent. With great animation, he 
depicted the evils of agitation of the slavery-question, and 
was more personal than usual. In response, I was equally 
in earnest ; and, when interrupted by a young lawyer, 
named Runion, I denounced him as "Turner's tool," and 
defied him. As soon as I stepped down from the table 
on which I stood, Cyrus Turner, the lawyer's son, came 
up to me, gave me the lie, and struck me. I had already 
been told, calmly, by one of my neighbors, who was now 
among the conspirators, that if I did not quit the discus- 
sion of the subject I would be killed. So knowing, as in 
Brown's case, what this meant, I at once drew my knife. 
I was immediately surrounded by about twenty of the con- 
spirators, my arms seized, and my knife wrested from me. 
Thinking it might be a friendly intervention to prevent 
blood-shed, I made but little resistance. But I found that 
the loss of my knife but subjected me to renewed attack. 
I was struck with sticks, and finally stabbed in the right 
side, just above the lower rib — the knife entering my 
lungs, and cutting apart my breast-bone, which has not 
united to this day. Seeing I was to be murdered, I 
seized my Bowie-knife ; and, catching it by the handle 
and the blade, cutting two of my fingers to the bone, I 
wrested it from my opponent, and held it firmly for use. 



1 86 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

The blood now gushed violently from my side ; and I 
felt the utmost indignation. I flourished my knife, clear- 
ing the crowd nearest me ; and looked out for Turner, 
determining to kill him. The way was opened, and I 
advanced upon him, and thrust the knife into his abdo- 
men, which meant death. At this time my eldest son, 
Warfield, being about fourteen years old, had procured a 
pistol, and handed it to me. It was too late. I was 
feeble from the loss of blood ; and, crying out that " I 
died in the defense of the liberties of the people," I was 
borne to my bed in the hotel by my friends. Turner was 
also taken into another room. 

It turned out that the conspirators numbered over 
twenty ; and the idea that I was killed, and too many 
around me, saved me. But two persons besides my son 
interfered. William and Wyatt Wilkerson rendered me 
great service. William prevented Thomas Turner from 
shooting me in the back of the head with a pistol, which 
he snapped ; and Wyatt Wilkerson threw him under the 
table, where preparations had been made for dinner. 
Wyatt was wounded with a knife in the arm. I had 
many friends present ; but, as is usual, they were para- 
lyzed by the sudden and unexpected attack. Every body 
thought I would die, but myself. I allowed no probing of 
the wound ; and ordered nothing to be given me, relying 
on my vigor of constitution, and somewhat upon my destiny. 

I had never had any intercourse with young Turner. 
He had married the daughter of a gentleman whom I 
much respected, and who had been one of the associates 
of my earlier years. He had evidently acted in obedience 
to others, and had been put forward by more cowardly 
men. So I sent him word that, as it seemed that we 
were rather driven by events than any personal feeling, I 
regretted the necessity of having given him such a wound 
(which I knew to be fatal), and proposed a reconciliation. 
This he accepted, and returned me a friendly answer of 
forgiveness. He died, and I lived. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY, 1 87 

I lay a long time, unable to turn over in my bed ; and 
to this day I feel the effects, at times, of these wounds 
of the knife and the stick upon the spine and pelvis. In 
the meantime, exaggerated and false statements of the 
rencounter having been published, I took occasion to pub- 
lish, by dictation, a refutation of the many falsehoods. 
Dr. G. Bailey, who had severely criticised my work of 
1848, and who was now publishing the National Era at 
Washington City, attacked me — I suppose because I was 
not killed! — at least, he denounced my use of arms, be- 
cause I said that I had more efficient weapons in my sack 
at the hotel, and wore only my knife. 

And thus through life I have been between two fires — 
the Slave-power on one side, and the Abolition cranks on 
the other. One of these fellows, of New England, re- 
gretted that I had not been killed ! And such men as 
Bailey seemed to hate me, either because I was a South- 
erner; or because I threw contempt upon a large class of 
his school, who added cowardice to their false theory of 
anti-slavery action. 

Before I arose again from my bed, the election had 
closed, and Turner and William Chenault were sent to 
the Convention. Here was made that infamous (1850) 
Constitution which to this day defies the National organic 
law — holding that the right of the slave-holder to his 
"slave and the increase" is "higher" than any other 
human or divine law ! 

As I had denounced the overthrow of all efforts to 
save the common-school fund to the education of the non- 
slaveholding whites, they, as a tub to the whale, made 
this fund thereafter inviolable ; and, by a ruinous and fatal 
policy, made, for the same reason, the judiciary elec- 
tive — all this to reconcile the poor whites to slavery, 
which they hoped to make perpetual by an unchangeable 
Constitution, which can never be reached but by an ap- 
peal to the original and indefeasible power of the people 
to make and unmake their organic law. It is now his- 



1 88 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

tory that the Constitutions of the States and Federal 
Government are no higher than public opinion ; and here, 
as in Great Britain, the Public Will is the Constitution. 

Now, should the Slave Party get into the National 
Government, and, through political action, or judicial de- 
cision, make the late amendments null and void, the 
slaves in Kentucky, now free, could be claimed and held by 
their former masters ; and the Kentucky Constitution would 
sustain them. * Hence, when I attempted, after General 
Hancock's defeat, in 1880, to urge a change of the Con- 
stitution of the State, the Louisville Cotirier- Journal re- 
fused me, in the most decided manner, the use of its 
columns for discussion ; and yet we read, all through the 
Democratic press, denunciations of the Czar because of 
the suppression of the liberty of utterance! 

It was in this year I addressed the following five let- 
ters to Hon. Daniel Webster, and which were originally 
published in the National Era, at Washington City: 

Madison Co., Ky. , Marcli 20, 1850. 
Hon. Daniel Webster — 

Dear Sir: — I have just read your late speech in the Senate 
upon the slavery question. 

I trust that, in making some comments upon it, I will not be 
considered wanting in respect to yourself. Humble as I am, I am 
too proud to flatter; yet, what I have said, I say again, that I 
have always regarded you as the largest intellect in the nation. 
Whatever you may say, therefore, is at once a matter of impor- 
tance to all the thinking men of the Republic. But, with freemen, 
no man's opinion is aiithority. And the humblest citizen may, 
without the imputation of presumption, venture to differ even from 
Daniel Webster. But, such now is not my province. I come to 
shelter myself under the prestige of your great name ; hoping 
thereby to win attention to truths which only want a hearing for 
their ultimate recognition. 

Although this speech is able, broad, and well balanced, it is 
not one which will be proudly referred to, even by your admirers. 
Mere intellect can not of itself constitute greatness — such great- 

*This was written before the last Presidential election. — C. 1885. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 1 89 

ness, at all events, as men love to cherish. Whatever utterance 
fails to strengthen good purposes, and to widen the channels of 
human sympathy, and to increase the prospects of the ameliora- 
tion of the ills of humanity, were well not to be uttered at all. 

Others, like you, cherish the Union of these States. A Con- 
stitutional Government which protects us from foreign subjection, 
and gives us a large share of security to life, liberty, and property 
at home, is a great thing. Any man, who should mount one 
principle as "a war horse to ride" it down, would be as mad as 
he who would extinguish the sun, as you say, because of its spots. 
Though African slavery be a great evil and wrong, it is not the 
greatest evil, or the greatest wrong, possible. For my part, re- 
garding slavery, as it exists in America, as the most atrocious of 
all despotisms, I yet prefer it — greatly prefer it — to anarchy. 
Any Government on earth is better than none. 

But are we reduced to this miserable alternative? I trust we 
are not. As little manliness and reason as there is left among 
us, I believe there is enough to save us from such a humiliating 
confession. 

I was asked, in Cincinnati, last winter, "Would there be a 
dissolution of the Union?" I said no; the North would recede 
from her position; the South would get all she asked. That the 
cry of dissolution would be used to carry a point, as boys muddy 
the water to catch lobsters? I claim no great credit for sagacity; 
I had seen the thing before! 

The position of affairs compel us, then, to look at the Union 
as it is, and at its possible dissolution. 

As much as the Union is to be loved, it is not to be loved 
more than a national conscience. If the idea, all along held, that 
slavery, by the terms of the Constitution, was to be allowed time 
"to die out" with decency, be ill founded, and the Constitution 
is to be so "compromised" that slave and free States shall re- 
ceive equal encouragement and protection, and slavery and freedom 
be equally extended forever, I prefer dissolution to that ! 

If the Constitution is to be made vital, in the free States, to 
the returning a slave into bondage, but not potent to protect a 
freeman from slavery in the South, I prefer dissolution to that! 
I say nothing of Lynch law and proscription upon natives of the 
South, for exercising the liberty of speech, that would not be 
remedied by dissolution. 

If the moral influence of our declaration of rights, our example 



I90 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

as a Republic, our personification of liberal opinions, is to be lost 
to our own self-elation, and to the "glory of mankind," and our 
domestic and foreign policy is to be made subservient to slave- 
holding will and to slave-holding sentiments, I prefer dissolution to 
that! If the national spirit of the "compromise" must forswear 
justice and humanity forever, and bow down to an altar consecrated 
to crime, where up-headed manliness can never venture with honor 
to itself, or respect to others, then give me dissolution ! Give me 
justice — give me the true principles of liberty — give me manli- 
ness — give me trust in humanity — give me faith in God, — and I 
will risk the reconstruction of society, and the reorganization of 
nations, — knowing well that something better may happen, but that 
nothing worse can come than such a union — a body without a soul, 
that stinks in the nostrils of sentiment, of reason, and of religion ! 

Whilst, then, I commend your submission to law ; your deter- 
mination to pass laws, in good faith, for the return of fugitives from 
service ; and your determination to stand by the pledged faith of the 
Government in regard to the admission of four more slave States 
from Texas, if she will it ; your fixed purpose, in or out of the pub- 
lic councils, to stand upon "the penalties of the bond," — I can not 
but regret that you did not feel it your duty, as a Northern Senator, 
as Daniel Webster, as a man, to say a word in favor of freedom, 
which would encourage its friends, and carry terror into the hearts 
of its enemies. 

Twenty millions of men, spread from sea to sea! — if there be 
not a man of great soul among them, is more a cause for tears 
and contrition than of triumph and laudatory poetry! 

It is a subject of regret, that you did not equally as decisively 
lay down the platform of defense, where liberty is to entrench her- 
self against the assaults of those who, you confess, have moved 
from the ground occupied at the formation of the Constitution, and 
now threaten to enter, with bloody feet, upon consecrated ground, 
or to destroy the temple of our common worship ; that you have 
not said for your "section" what Mr. Calhoun has said for his; 
that, at all hazards, Northern freemen shall remain so, even to the 
throwing down of the stone walls of Charleston, or New Orleans ; 
that free territory, by Mexican law, by American law, and by 
"nature's law," shall remain free, though Southern madmen rage 
in wordy war in Congress, or Quattlebums march to drum and fife 
in the field ; that right wrongs no man, and that manliness and fair 
dealing compel you to say what you intend to do, that the North 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. I9I 

• 

and South may learn that you do homage, if not to a " Wilmot's, " 
at least to "Nature's" proviso. 

In my humble judgment, these issues have to be met at last; 
the sooner the better for us, and for all mankind. 

This is no time for "courtly complaisance." It is not necessary 
to go to Europe to see a war of extermination and despair; here 
and now are blood and crime, and a death struggle. Liberty and 
Slavery can not co-exist ! One or the other must triumph utterly. 

"Where are you to go?" You will be allowed to take "no 
fragment upon which to float away from the wreck." The good 
old ship, "Constitutional Liberty," must be kept afloat (to continue 
your metaphor,) by strong arms and gallant hearts, or else the 
piratical hulk, "Slavery," will send you and us where tyrants in all 
ages have sent and will send all who submit not unqualifiedly to 
themselves — to the bottom ! 

Respectfully, I am your obedient servant, 

C. M. Clay. 

Madison Co., Ky., March 23, 1850. 
Hon. Daniel Webster — 

Dear Sir: — The opening of your speech, in an artistic point 
of view, is admirable; but, as I do not propose to consider it as a 
rhetorical effort, but to confine myself to sentiments and principles, I 
must deny myself the pleasure of dwelling upon the force, trans- 
parency, brevity, unfrequent but startling imagery, unity, logic 
powerful in "exhausting" statement of premises, sarcasm more 
cutting from its partial magnanimity, and other marked peculiarities 
which characterize your utterance. 

"Wise, moderate, patriotic, and healing doctrine" become not 
only Senators, but all men. "Wise, patriotic, and healing" are 
very good words, at all times, especially in troublous times. But 
"moderate" I have very little respect for. What little considera- 
tion it once had among men has been lost by its unfortunate asso- 
ciations. It has not kept good company for many long years, to 
my certain knowledge. It has so long followed upon tame-spirited 
men, that it is now regarded as almost a coward ; and has been 
courted so much by time-serving divines, and office-seeking poli- 
ticians, who are too yielding by half to what may be the popular 
will, that its motives are more than half suspected ! For my part, 
I avow I hate the word for its own sake. Like many a "good 
fellow," it is liberal out of other people's pockets — forgetting to be 



192 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

just before being generous. The Southern man who reaps all the 
benefits of slavery can afford to be "moderate." The Northern man 
who deems himself a millionaire only in consequence of slave-grown 
and slave-growing cotton can afford to be "moderate." The divine 
whose cushioned pews are filled only with slave-holders can afford 
to be "moderate." The politician who knows the power of wealthy 
crime every-where is exceedingly "moderate" at all times; but upon 
this subject of slavery the word does not convey the idea. I do not 
desire to be offensive ; I forbear a substitute. But what are the 
three millions of "peeled Africans" to think of the complacent 
"moderation" of these magnanimous "compromisers" of principle! 
What are we, the five millions of non-slaveholders of the South, to 
think of these "moderate" gentlemen whose "courtly complai- 
sance" subjects us to an almost equal servitude! 

I beg of you, then, to spare your admirers the pain of this sus- 
picious companion ; leave it, I pray you, to the dodgers of great, 
but inconvenient, questions, whom God in his equal beneficence 
has given to the poor and obscure, to reconcile them to their ap- 
parently hard lot, by showing what exquisite meanness of character 
is sometimes found in the high places of earth ! 

To the graphic and brief, though comprehensive, summary of 
the causes which have precipitated the country into the present 
great struggle, I do not particularly object. Still, I think that 
you overrate your powers, as great as they are, if you suppose 
that you, with the aid your eloquence can bring to your stand- 
ard, can restore the country to "quiet and harmony;" which God 
has made the ministering angels that wait upon the good only, 
and which the determined perpetrators of wrong can never know ! 

I venture to assert, also, that you have not looked steadily 
into "the profoundest depths" which the storm discloses. Yes, 
I deny that there is, has been, or ever can be, any genuine 
"peace," until one of the great contending powers is reduced to 
unconditional submission, or death ! The war began with the Con- 
stitution ; or, rather, the war began before the Constitution — which 
is, at best, as interpreted now, but a truce, not a treaty, of peace. 

Were it not too serious a subject for diversion, I would draw 
you a picture, whose absurdity would make me a madman, were 
not facts to come to my help, and place the cap and bells upon 
more illustrious heads. 

I imagine you and Mr. Calhoun amid "the storm;" and you 
have both laid hands upon that "fragment of a wreck" which is 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 1 93 

only large enough to save one from death. You are both ex- 
hausted by a struggle with the raging elements; and, by lying 
quietly, your noses are kept above water. Mutual safety dictates 
a truce. As your strength revives, you see that one or the other 
must at last master the plank. Mr. Calhoun quietly takes out his 
knife and cuts off one of your fingers. You affect not to be ag- 
grieved, but in turn cut off one of his toes! "Allow me, my dear 
sir, to take off your ear," says Mr. Calhoun; and he suits the 
action to the word! "With your permission, brother," you re- 
spond, "I will cut off your nose!" Then comes an arm — then a 
leg — and, at last, the death struggle! 

Such is the game of slavery and freedom. One or the other 
must die! 

Give me Alabama, says the South. Strengthen me with 
Maine, says the North. Give me Florida, give me Louisiana, give 
me Texas, says Slavery. Give me Ohio, and Michigan, and Ore- 
gon, says Freedom. 

So far, they are only taking breath, and preparing the knife. 
' ' Now, give me leave to cut off a part of California — a mere 
finger. Let me sever from your body New Mexico ; it is but an 



arm 



Yes, sir, the parties have taken breath ; have long since begun 
to cut! The North was cut, when she assented to a limited term 
of the slave-trade ! She was cut, when she set five slaves in 
equality of representation with three Northern freemen ! She was 
cut, when she agreed to play Cuban bloodhound and slave-catcher 
for the South ! She was cut, when the first new slave State was 
admitted into the Union ! She was cut, yet deeper, when, by a 
mere resolution of Congress, in violation of the treaty-making 
power, "new" slave States of Texas birth were agreed to be ad- 
mitted into the union ! She was cut, when her sons, for nearly 
half a century, bowed down into the very dust to pick up the 
scattered crumbs which fell from the table of a slave-holding Gov- 
ernment ! She was cut, when the mail was prostituted to slave- 
holding surveillance! She was cut, when by the "Southern com- 
mon law" her sons were hung for exercising the liberty of speech! 
She was cut, when her white citizens were imprisoned for address- 
ing, through the press, the whites of the South ! She was cut, 
when she was plunged into the slave-hunt of Florida! She was 
cut, when began the Executive war of Texas, for the acquisition 
of slave territory! She was cut, yes, cut to the vitals, when the 

Vol. I. — 13 



194 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

ambassadors of Massachusetts were driven, with ruffian force, from 
the vindication of her rights in the "glorious Union" by your 
1 ' Southern brethren ! ' ' Cut, sir, disgracefully cut ! whilst a free 
citizen of the North lies for a moment of time in a prison of 
Charleston, or New Orleans, without crime, or without redress! 

And at last, sir, when the arrogant and infamous demand is 
made, to cut you off from California (concerning which you will 
have something to say hereafter, when everybody else has done 
with saying), you are flatly told that the truce is annulled — the 
"Union" dissolved — unless you submit duly to that cutting? — no! 
but to some indefinite cutting, which shall reduce your strength — 
which, in spite of all Southern trimming of limbs, is likely to prove 
an over-match for the "peculiar institution." 

I think, sir, your "moderation" is above all admiration! I 
could have pardoned something like a wry face — a suppressed 
twitch of the muscles — an ill-concealed groan! Yes, sir, even a 
lion might have been moved to "roar you as gently," at least, 
"as any sucking dove;" or a god to have hurled once more his 
stolen "thunder" recovered! 

Your historical review is rather singular. I have given you 
credit for unity, in your orations; now, you have either violated 
your usual artistic skill, or else you stand as the apologist of 
slavery. It is true that the argument, that a thing has always 
existed, and therefore is right, seems exceedingly silly to any but 
slave-holders. But just as much reason exists to justify murder; 
murder has always been committed, and, therefore, murder is right. 
Such is the argument; and, absurd as it is, it is often used by 
slave-holders; and is the best they have. It is to be regretted 
that you so stated the question, that you either mean the same 
thing, or mean nothing ! 

Besides, it would have been easy for you to have shown that 
slavery has, from time immemorial, been undergoing a process of 
amelioration and final decay — a doctrine not held speculatively, but 
based upon authentic history. 

I, like you, have read the proceedings of the Methodist Church ; 
but I rejoice at its division. I rejoice that there has been found 
true religion enough to break through sectarian drill. I rejoice that 
the Christian Religion has been lustrated, even by a portion of its 
followers, from criminal subservience to a relic of barbarism, which 
the wild Indian had not conceived, and Mahometans have abolished, 
for "the honor of the Prophet, and the glory of mankind." I re- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



195 



joice at it, as a shadow of future events, which indicate that there 
is a better time near at hand in Church and State. I rejoice that it 
will wisely be taken as a sign that the time for "compromise" is 
past forever! Very truly, your obedient servant, 

C. M. Clay. 

Madison Co., Ky., March 25, 1850. 
Hon. Daniel Webster — 

Dear Sir: — Your reflections upon fanatics are ingenious, and, 
in the main, just. Fanatics, upon a small scale, are especially an- 
noying. They interrupt the current of human opinions, without 
turning the channel, or enlarging its bounds. But the evolution of 
a "single idea," when it lies at the foundations of society and gov- 
ernment, is one of the boldest, most useful, and glorious of human 
achievements. The great battles of human freedom and true morals 
have been won by just such men as you describe. I need hardly 
mention examples. Take the human life of Christ himself. He 
was a fanatic to the Jews and Gentiles. To the Jews "a stumbling 
block," to the Greeks "foolishness," and to the Romans an inno- 
vator — "turning things upside down." After all, the new ideas 
which He introduced into the world were few, but of immense im- 
portance — underlying the whole fabric of human society and gov- 
ernment. By a subtle analysis of the human heart, He enunciated 
a rule of conduct which is applicable to all possible emergencies of 
moral action : ' ' Do unto others as you would others should do unto 
you." The other idea was the rejection of all physical peace- 
offerings to God. The doctrine of material sacrifice was world- 
wide, and pervaded all classes of society — more fixed and univer- 
sal in human opinion, perhaps, than any other idea. This He re- 
jected, and restored nature to herself. Teaching that the true 
worship of God was the perfecting of His greatest work — man. 
Enlighten the intellect; purify the soul; and beautify the body — 
these are the three bases of all true worship of God. And, if so, 
our fanatical friends, the Northern Abolitionists, are not so narrow 
in their ideas as one may suppose. Slavery is in direct antagonism 
to the only elements of human civilization and progress. Are not, 
then, the great mass of cavillers at the " one-ideaists " themselves 
to be pitied, who can not see their great truth! I imagine to 
myself John C. Calhoun listening to your strictures upon fanatics. 
Now one, and then another, of these "odious agitators" pass in the 
memory's review: first Hale and Giddings ; and then, as you dilate 



I96 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

upon the subject, William L. Garrison, the arch-fanatic, appears. 
He enjoys the sport ; you mend your pace ; he is in ecstacies ; the 
"fun grows fast and furious," till, like Tarn O'Shanter, he can con- 
tain himself no longer — "Well done," he cries! ''Quid rides? 
de te fabula narraturf" Daniel Webster denounces fanatics! — the 
greatest of fanatics applauds! 

"Impatient men" there are, no doubt, too. Some of them 
have been waiting for sixty years, and more, for slavery to ' ' die 
out;" and yet it seems as unwilling to give up the ghost as it did 
in 1787! How much longer must we patiently wait? How long 
do you think the slave-holders would have us wait? They are pro- 
verbially liberal, sir; leave it to them, and we should be as well off 
as Sheridan's creditors! — "the day after judgment" would be soon 
enough ! I do not see the appositeness of your parallel between 
the rise of Christianity and the fall of Slavery. Moral truth is one 
thing, and political action is another. We can not compel belief, 
but we can action. In Niblo's garden, in 1837, your perceptions 
seemed to be somewhat clearer. You would hardly have regarded 
it as a good reason for setting up slavery in Texas, where Mexico 
had abolished it, that the Christian religion had been a long time 
in existence, and had not yet subjected all the world ! 

"Impatience," if the South was in good faith making efforts 
and sacrifices to extinguish slavery, would be worthy of denuncia- 
tion. But, when they are doing the very opposite, such ill-timed 
sympathy will hardly be set down, by impartial men, as the fruit 
of an enlarged charity ! And moral insensibility is worse than 
fanaticism ! It may be true that society, left to itself, in all cases, 
may right itself at last. Soil, by bad culture, may in a single year 
waste the accumulations of centuries! True, centuries will restore 
it ; but is it the part of wisdom to take the remedy instead of the 
prevention? So, sir, it is with regard to government and morals. 
Your idea, that moral truth is not capable of demonstration as is 
mathematics, is now admitted by the best thinkers to be founded 
in error. The method is different, but the result — certainty — is 
equally attainable, though the process be more difficult and the 
data more complicated. But what if true? The standard of every 
man's action must be at last what he believes right. You seem, 
however, to follow a learned magistrate, such as the great West 
sometimes boasts: "He was satisfied, from all the evidence, that 
the complainant ought to gain his suit; but, out of abundance of 
caution, he would decide for the defendant!" Your charity to- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 1 97 

ward Southern Christianity is in part well based. There are many, 
very many, conscientious slave-holders ; but they are the ' ' weaker 
brethren." The leading minds among them are as finished Jesuits 
and swindling hypocrites as ever wore a black gown! The regular 
slave-traders are infinitely better men ! 

The opinions of the fathers of the Government were as you say. 
It was expected that slavery would "run out." 

Sherman and Madison and others were not willing to allow that 
man could have property in man. Those who had just made 
solemn avowals to the world of the right of all men to life, lib- 
erty, and the pursuit of happiness, were ashamed to put the word 
slavery in the Constitution. Washington and others looked forward 
to an early extinction of slavery as a fixed fact. All, all united in 
denouncing it as an evil. Some, as a curse, a wrong, and a sin. 

Will any man deny, from all the evidence in the premises, that 
it was a part of "the compromise" that slavery was allowed time 
merely to die with decency! The Ordinance of 1787, prohibiting 
slavery north of the Ohio, was coeval with the Constitution. The 
time of slave-importation was limited ; and the institution itself was 
denounced. 

Now, sir, when so much is said about "good faith" and "com- 
promise," might not one who comprehended the "great mission" 
of our nation (such is the cant phrase !) have said to the slave pro- 
pagandists, you are at war with nature — at war with the advance 
of Christianity ; at war with the progress of civilization ; at war with 
our avowed sentiments and the organic law of our Government ; at 
war with the spirit of the national "co-partnership;" at war with 
"the compromises of the Constitution;" at war with every pure 
conscience — and ought to be and will be, "resisted at all hazard"- 
and to the last extremity! " 

Pardon me, I think such a declaration was to have been ex- 
pected from you. Allow me to say, it would have done more even 
to "preserve the Union" than all your "moderation" and all your 
"charity." I refer you to Governor Hammond as my authority for 
saying that "moderation," "charity," and "moral suasion," are, 
with slave-holders, synonymous with cowardice, impertinence, and 
" nonsense ! " 

The main cause of the abandonment by the South of the faith 
of our fathers is, as you state it, the increase of the cotton crop. 
But this cause has passed north of Mason and Dixon's line, and 
produced a change of tone in both free and slave States. 



I98 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

The cause is one thing; the justification is another. Your de- 
fense of the South is characteristic of the legal profession. What 
are truth and right in the face of one hundred millions of dollars? 

That which was a curse, a wrong, and a sin, in 1787, by one 
hundred millions of dollars, in 1850, is converted into a blessing,. 
a right, and a religious charity. 

As much as I abhor slavery, I abhor the defense more. One 
strikes down the liberty of the African ; the other, mine. One 
enslaves a people ; the other, the human race. The one avowedly 
prostrates only political rights; the other saps the foundations of 
morals and civil safety, also. This "political necessity" is the 
father of murder, of robbery, and all religious and governmental 
tyranny. This is the damnable doctrine upon which was built the 
inquisition, the star-chamber, and the guillotine. 

No, sir; that which is a fault in individuals, is a crime in gov- 
ernments. We can guard against the danger of a single assassin, 
but a government is irresistible and immortal in its criminal in- 
flictions. 

The doctrine that individual honesty is compatible with political 
profligacy, or that individual and governmental responsibility are dis- 
tinct, is one of the boldest sophisms that was ever allowed to linger 
among the shallow falsehoods of the past. 

Retribution follows swift in the footsteps of crime, whether per- 
petrated by one or a thousand. "Though hand join to hand," the 
wicked shall not stand. The poisoned chalice of slave-holding pro- 
pagandists is already commended to their own lips. Their spirit of 
aggression has awakened a like spirit of resistance. They would, 
have Texas; we will have California! Yes, sir; though cotton and 
cotton mills perish forever! The unconstitutional precedent of a 
simple majority of both Houses taking in slave States, will in turn 
crush the political power of the South to atoms. Then how long 
will her God-defying tyranny stand before the hot indignation of a 
world in arms? Respectfully, your obedient servant, 

C. M. Clay. 

Madison Co., Ky., March 26, 1850. 
Hon. Daniel Webster — 

Dear Sir: — If it were my purpose, as it is not, to make out a 
case of inconsistency against you, I could show that you once held 
a different idea in regard to the validity of the Texas annexation. 

Two foreign States can not become one, except by treaty; and 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



199 



the treaty-making power belongs to the President and a two-thirds 
plurality of the Senate. This power was usurped by a simple ma- 
jority of both Houses of Congress, and Texas annexed. If the 
Texas resolutions had been clearly legal, I still deny the power of 
one Congress to absorb to itself a power which the Constitution has 
made the right of all Congresses alike. And if the difficulty of 
remedying an evil which effects such large masses of people forbids 
us to expel Texas from the fraternity of States, neither sense, good 
faith, or good morals, compel us to complete an unconstitutional 
and criminal agreement. Such is the doctrine of law and of morals. 
Whilst I, then, am as fully impressed with the necessity, in govern- 
mental affairs, to submit to precedent, and with a conservative spirit 
to acquiesce in the national determination, I think in excess of 
"moderation," or in too hot haste to take a tilt at the Northern 
Democracy, you overrun the writings of "the bond." 

But granting, for argument's sake, that the resolutions of 1845 
are, first, constitutional in their inception, and next, binding abso- 
lutely upon succeeding Congresses, I take issue with you in their 
construction. 

The resolutions are, in part: "New States of convenient size, 
not exceeding four in number, in addition to the said State of 
Texas, and having sufficient population, may hereafter, by the con- 
sent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which 
shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of the Federal 
Constitution. And such States as may be formed out of that por- 
tion of said territory lying south of 36 30' north latitude, com- 
monly known as the Missouri Compromise line, shall be admitted 
into the Union, with . or without slavery, as each State asking ad- 
mission may desire ; and in such State or States as shall be formed 
out of said territory north of said Missouri Compromise line, slavery 
or involuntary servitude (except for crime,) shall be prohibited." 

Now, in the face of this, you have these extrordinary words: 
"And the guaranty is, that new States shall be made out of it; 
and that such States as are formed out of that portion of Texas 
lying south of 36 30' may come in as slave States to the number 
of four, in addition to the State then in existence." 

Here, again, you are ahead of "the bond." The most favor- 
able construction can only give the South three slave States; for all 
north of 36 30' is prohibited from slave contamination, and, of 
course, can never be a distinct Slave State. It must, therefore, 
become a free State of itself, or, joined with a part of the soil 



200 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

south of 36° 30', be a free State. In either case, three slave States 
can only remain. Here you have not rightly "expounded." 

Again, what necessity is there to form three slave States south 
of the line, and only one north of the line, more than there is for 
the reverse? Or why not presume that two may be made on each 
side? Are all inferences, all advantages, to be forever on the side 
of slavery? Once more you overrun "the bond." 

You are not only wrong once, twice, three times, but radically 
wrong — wrong in the premises, and in the conclusion — wrong in 
spirit and in intellect! 

The truth is, there is not a shadow of obligation to admit new 
States out of Texas at all ! unless one free one north of 36 30', in 
order to preserve the spirit of the Compromise ; else, where is the 
equivalent for the slave State of Texas herself? 

Congress, by the resolutions, only reserves to herself the con- 
tingent power of breaking down the overgrown bounds of Texas; 
but imposes no obligation on herself to do so. 

The language is "may." Now "may" is always contingent 
or conditional. It "may," or it "may" not. If they may not be 
admitted, why are you so ready to pledge yourself, both now and 
hereafter, to admit slave States ! 

If there was any obligation on Congress to admit new slave 
States, the language would have been "shall." When they come 
to define the character of the States, if admitted, the conditional 
"may" is dropped, and the definite "shall" adopted. This all 
seems too plain for dispute. Precedent in ordinary laws, as well 
as grammar and logic, sustain me. 

"Congress may admit new States into the Union." Is Con- 
gress here bound to admit all new States into the Union, which 
may ask or "consent?" If so, how came you to violate your 
oath of obedience to the Constitution by voting against Texas? 
I know not which is the most to be deplored, your cause, or your 
advocacy ! 

Your denunciation of those Northern Democrats, who betrayed 
the cause of freedom in the Texas plot, is well deserved. I never 
had much faith in a death-bed repentance. The hell of conscience, 
and the damnation of all good men, is theirs forever! But I can 
not appreciate that judgment which condemns the repentant sin- 
ner, and yet defends the determined perpetrator of the same 
crime ! For, after all, slavery-extension can not be whitewashed 
by any amount of self-interest in its Southern supporters! I trust 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 201 

you are not about to institute a new code of moral law, which, 
like your theory of slavery, grades iniquity by the rise and fall of 
the mercury — so that what is villainous in 42 north, is most 
reasonable, and little less than virtuous, in 3 2° farther south! 

I can not understand how you venture the assertion that 
slavery can not, by the "laws of nature," exist in California and 
New Mexico! When, in point of fact, slavery, "in the gross," 
previous to the confirmatory act of 1836, did exist in those very 
provinces; and "peonism" exists there now! 

Nor can "peonism," or the cheapness of labor there, prevent 
the existence of slavery. 

African slavery can only be rendered "unprofitable" to the 
individual slave-holder, where a more intelligent and equally active 
and muscular race is reduced to the necessity of underworking the 
slave — that is, by doing more work, or better, for the same wages, 
food, shelter, and clothing. That stage of depression of labor is 
many centuries off in California and New Mexico. Now, cheap 
labor (for it has ceased already in California,) in New Mexico, 
arises from the case of living in a sunny climate, among an indo- 
lent and primitive people — the very case most favorable for 
slavery. Where a harsh climate, or sterile soil, require all the 
efforts of a man to live in the simplest manner, there slavery can 
not live. But where a man may support himself with nine hours' 
labor, and three may go to the profit of the master, there slavery 
may be "profitable." A good soil may be in a very cold climate; 
and there may slavery go. A fair climate may have a very poor 
soil; and even there, also, may slavery go. But I understand that 
these provinces have both good soil and climate; then, by all that 
is sacred in absurdity, why may not slavery go there? Where is 
your "law of Nature?" 

The South says she only "wants time to get in;" and, what- 
ever else the South may do, she never stultifies herself! Slavery 
is her only God — she never affected to know or care anything 
about the "law of Nature!" 

In arguing the "profitableness" of slavery, simply in a pecuni- 
ary point of view, I confine myself to the individual masters. The 
aggregate population is always injured, the total wealth always less, 
by slavery! Unlike in the old fable, the belly grows, but the mem- 
bers perish; when they can no longer "give," the belly also dies! 

Those who wait for slavery "to cure itself" — "to die out in 
the natural way" — wait for the ruin of the State. Like the silly 



202 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

farmer, who trusted to the sheep to kill the briers, they will find 
at last the briers dead, and the sheep also! 

Your obedient servant, 

C. M. Clay. 

Madison Co., Ky., April 3, 1850. 
Hon. Daniel Webster — 

Dear Sir: — I think I showed, in my last letter, that slavery 
is very slightly, if at all, affected by climate or soil. The history 
of the world confirms the reasoning. It is enough to say that the 
worst grade of serfdom now exists in "the everlasting snows" of 
Siberian Russia. I stated that, so far from nature's law having 
forbid slavery in Mexico and California, they were, of all the 
countries in the world, most suited to slavery. The "Asiatic 
features" of the country, I thought, were the best for slavery, as 
Asia has ever been fuller of despotism than Europe. Nothing 
struck me with so much force, in passing through Mexico, as the 
fact that the physical features of the country warred against a 
middle class of small landholders, who are the best depositaries 
of freedom. The very necessity of irrigation requires large capital 
and a single ownership. Hence, the tendency is toward master 
and slave, or landlord and tenant, almost inevitably — the most 
unfavorable case for free institutions. But if the tillable land in- 
vites to slavery, equally so do the barren hills, whose only wealth 
is mineral mines. Surely, if any business would make slave-labor 
profitable in the world, mining is that business. And yet, in the 
face of these facts, you obstinately insist that the law of God for- 
bids slavery there! Once more, your reasoning is as bad as your 
facts! You "will not reenact the law of God!" I belong- to that 
fanatical class who believe that the business of law-makers is to 
reenact the laws of God and Nature, and nothing else. Pray, sir, 
if that sort of law is not to be reenacted, what sort is? Only 
those which are at war with God and Nature? If there are any 
"gentlemen," North or South, whose sensibilities are likely to be 
wounded by the reenactment of the laws of God or Nature, those 
I would take care to wound; because they would deserve to be 
wounded, as all crime deserves punishment! I understand, then, 
that the substance of all this is, that you refuse to reclaim your 
stolen "thunder!" You back out from the Wilmot Proviso! You 
speak of some men who, when they change themselves, contend 
that the world around had changed! These are the shallow sub- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 203 

terfuges of weak minds. Not so with the heroic genius! With 
him, history has changed ! its valleys have changed ! its hills are 
not the same! "A plague on all cowards, say I." "Is there no 
virtue extant?" "I will not give you a reason upon compul- 
sion" — "I will not reenact the law of God!" 

You are quite happy in your vindication of the South from 
Northern aggression. But I look in vain to find a word of com- 
plaint on the part of the North against the South. At this, I 
am not surprised. The North has proven herself quite tame in 
her submission to insults and to blows! I have already attended 
to this; I shall not go over the same ground. 

I suppose the large class of merchants and manufacturers of 
Massachusetts, whom you represent, applaud your course. The 
point of honor with them is, to "put money in their purse!" 
Nobody expected them to show any spirit of manliness — any re- 
sistance to wrong — any demand for rights! 

But Massachusetts has not "lost the breed of noble bloods." 
There is a remnant of the old Puritan stock, who do not worship 
only the belly ! — men who put principle before gold — men who 
rightly comprehend the rights of man, and have the iron will and 
the indestructible energy to achieve their final vindication ! 

It had been well if you had passed them in silence. It were 
well for Daniel Webster, even, that, neither now nor hereafter, the 
comparison should be drawn between him and them ! Such men 
as Garrison and Mann, and Phillips and Adams, and a host of 
others, need no apologetic commiseration from any one! History 
will vindicate them from the censures even of Daniel Webster! 
Certainly I shall not become their defender. Speculation is one 
thing — fact another. I have not undertaken to say who has done 
the good; but I take issue with you about the existence of it. 
So far from the condition of the slave having been made worse 
since 1835, the period which Mr. Calhoun lays down as the be- 
ginning of Abolition agitation, the condition of the slave in the 
South has steadily improved. They are now better clothed, better 
fed, better housed, and better treated in all respects. Every 
traveler confirms this statement of one who lives among slaves. 
As you pass along the extreme Southern Mississippi, you see 
long rows of comfortable cottages, which bear unmistakable evi- 
dence, from their newness, of having been built since the period 
of "agitation!" You ask, if persons can now talk and write 
in Virginia, as in 1832, upon the subject of slavery? Yes. Never 



204 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

before, in any period of our history, were the press and the 
stump so free to slave discussion as now. Look, sir, at the Na- 
tional Era; would it have been tolerated in 1832? No, sir. The 
southern people are not as base as your argument would make 
them. They have not passed that last round in the descent to 
crime and infamy, where insensibility to shame and public denun- 
ciation stupifies the villain! Their whole effort is, very naturally, 
to make slavery just as tolerable as slavery can be made, con- 
sistent with its permanence. But the same causes which tend 
to its amelioration, will accomplish its abolition at last! If laws 
can not long be better than public opinion — so they can not 
long be worse than public opinion. When slavery comes under 
the ban of a wide-spread public opinion, it will perish, in spite 
of obsolete laws and paper constitutions! 

Complaisance, charity, compromise, sir, are the supports of 
slavery! "Easy virtue," in Church and State, consummates the 
ruin of political morals, debauches the Nation, and makes slavery 
a very tolerable thing! — a "patriarchal institution!" The praises 
of the Southern press ought to remind you of a certain wise 
man of antiquity, "Titinius applauds — I 've said a foolish thing!" 
There is much to approve in what you say of disunion. 

The liberty of the white race, who are the majority, is not 
to be jeoparded for any contingent possibility of thereby freeing 
the black race. Far less is the Union to be dissolved for the 
purpose of maintaining slavery. Three hundred thousand slave- 
holders are not the South ; as they will find out, when they 
choose to put the fearful issue — "Slavery or Disunion!" W. 
H. Seward, nearly right in all his speech, is surely right in this, 
that the slave-holders are the last to seek disunion! It is Bully- 
ism and Braggartism, and nothing else ! They knew the tame- 
ness of the North, and calculated upon it, and succeeded ! I do 
not, therefore, feel the eloquence of your speech just here — it 
seems but "mock-tragedy" at best! 

With sorrow be it said, that even your virtues lean to vice's 
side! The proposition to appropriate money for the colonization 
of the free blacks should, when carried into a law, be entitled 
"a bill for the encouragement of crime!" I am a Colonizationist, 
because I think a free, educated black colony will, perhaps, civil- 
ize Africa. But colonization, with a view merely of getting clear 
of a free colored class, who are "a thorn in the King's side," 
has none of my sympathy! 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 205 

If you had said to the South, give us the liberty of all your 
bondmen, and we will give you all our public revenue beyond 
the actual necessities of Government, even with colonization, you 
would have said a great, a good, and a sensible thing. I wish 
for your own sake, much, and yet more, for the sake of the 
Union, and of humanity at large, that you had nerved yourself 
to paint slavery as none but you could have painted it; and then 
have come forward in good earnest with a proffer of the proceeds 
of the public lands, and all other available means, to assist in its 
final eradication ! It is a source of regret to all lovers of Amer- 
ican genius, that you did not prove as gloriously great, as you 
are unquestionably talented ! That your aspirations were not for 
a country just, as well as "wide-spread" and powerful — an altar, 
where the soul could pour out its love, and prayers, as well as 
its admiration — "Liberty and Union — one, and inseperable, now, 
and forever! " 

I have freely spoken, as an advocate of liberty, not as your 
enemy. I shall not be of those who wish to put you down, or 
see you put down ! I trust you may long live, and long be in 
the councils of the Nation — more earnestly and faithfully to use, 
for the good of the Nation and humanity, those great powers with 
which Nature has so signally marked you. 

Believe me, truly and respectfully, your most obedient servant, 

C. M. Clay. 



CHAPTER XI. 



"Liberty of Speech" vindicated. — I separate from the Whigs. — Anti- 
Slavery Women : Harriet Beecher Stowe ; Evelyn Woodson ; Lucretia 
Mott. — The prejudice of Color. — Letter from the Ladies of the Ash- 
tabula County (Ohio) Anti-Slavery Society. — Overthrow of the Whig 
Party. — Canvass for Governor of Kentucky in 1851. — Berea College. — 
John J. Crittenden. — John C. Breckinridge and Robert P. Letcher. — 
I save the Life of William Willis. — W. C. P. Breckinridge. 



SO far the slave-power was triumphant. They had ad- 
mitted Texas, contrary to the Constitution, and car- 
ried on a successful war for slave territory. In Kentucky 
they had made the slave clause perpetual. 

On my return from Mexico, I sued James B. Clay, 
son of Henry Clay, as the Secretary and most noted of 
the Committee of Sixty, who removed my press to Cin- 
cinnati, and, in a Jessamine County Court, got $2,500 
damages against him. So the freedom of the press was 
vindicated. 

And now, although I had been struck down by vio- 
lence, and the liberty of speech was temporarily ever- 
thrown, so soon as I arose again from my bed, and was 
restored to health, I went steadily on with my work. 
After I had voted for Taylor, I separated from the Whigs. 

Among the prime factors in the overthrow of the slave- 
power, were many of the most intellectual, refined, and 
lovely women of America. Among these, although Mrs. 
Harriet Beecher Stowe holds the first place for ability and 
effective service, as the author of " Uncle Tom's Cabin," 
1 must award the noblest in heroism to my native State. 

About the time that Dr. Horace Holley, the President 
of Transylvania University, attracted many distinguished 
strangers to Lexington, a wealthy and refined Englishman 
206 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 20J 

established himself on a fine blue-grass estate in Jessamine 
County, Kentucky. His landscape-grounds were elabo- 
rately laid out, and highly cultivated ; and became one 
of the "Lions" of central Kentucky. Here he entertained 
lavishly and hospitably persons of distinction who visited 
the blue-grass capital. To this English family, Evelyn 
Meade was born — an intelligent, lovely, and heroic 
woman, who married Tucker Woodson, an eminent lawyer 
and politician of high social position. When the men of 
anti-slavery views cowered under the despotism of the 
slave-power, Mrs. Woodson became the avowed advocate 
of liberation ; and remained, through good and evil report, 
my friend till her death. Such a woman is an honor to 
the sex, and deserves immortal honor from all lovers of 
the liberties of men. 

Lucretia Mott deserves signal mention for her long and 
efficient services in the cause of the slave. She was born 
in 1793, of Friend's (Quaker) parentage; and early took 
ground against slavery, in common with the general tenets 
of those Christians. She was the organizer of the Amer- 
ican Anti-Slavery branch of that Society in Philadelphia ; 
opposed the use of slave-grown products ; and, as a 
preacher of the Society of Friends, denounced slavery in 
Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. She was ever the 
friend of the slave in all her various relations in life. 

On a visit to Mrs. Mott, after I began the anti-slavery 
war, I was handsomely entertained at a dinner at her 
home, where the leading anti-slavery men and women of 
Philadelphia were present. The Friends, of Philadelphia, 
in a genial climate, and by the purity of their lives, were 
noted for their beauty of body and soul. At this dinner, 
also, Edward Purvis, a half-breed white and African, was 
present. His father was a ship-carpenter, and accumulated 
a large property. His son was well educated at home and 
abroad, and would have been regarded as a refined gen- 
tleman in any country. He sat opposite me at dinner, and 
by the side of one of the most lovely girls present. 



208 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

This was the first time in my life that I had ever sat 
at table with a mulatto on terms of equality. Notwith- 
standing my advanced ideas in the direction of liberalism, 
I felt the greatest shock at this new relation of the races 
and the sexes ; so that I imagine it must have been ob- 
served by all. After dinner, Purvis, with the address which 
comes of intercourse in many countries, sought me, and 
commenced a very agreeable conversation, till my preju- 
dices were well nigh conquered. He said, on his return 
from Europe once, on the same vessel was a South Caro- 
lina family, including wife and daughters. They denounced 
negro-equality ; but, taking Purvis for a Spaniard, or Ital- 
ian, they danced with him — never suspecting his lineage. 
Such is the force of habit and prejudice. 

In Europe I saw several cases of marriage between the 
races ; and no one thought anything of it. But, after all, 
I have never thought that such alliances between whites 
and blacks as involve progeny should be encouraged ; 
though no law should prohibit it. 

But I have no room for the discussion of the subject 
here. There are physical differences in structure ; and 
the prejudice of slavery will last in this country for cen- 
turies. 

In my home, my white employes refuse to sit at table 
with blacks ; but do not object to wait upon them civilly 
when they dine with me at times. 

Among the liberal women whom I have known, person- 
ally, may be mentioned Julia Ward Howe, Lucy Stone 
Blackwell, Susan B. Anthony, Jane G. Swishelm, Margaret 
Fuller, Anne C. Lynch, A. B. Adams of Quincy, E. Oakes 
Smith, S. B. McLean (wife of Judge John McLean), C. 
M. Sedgewick, Jessie B. Fremont, M. W. Chapman, Eliza 
L. Follen, Catharine (Ware) Warfield, and Elizabeth Cady 
Stanton, as the most distinguished ; though I could fill 
a long list of names of nearly equal celebrity. Most of 
these women, after the overthrow of slavery, went into 
the Womans' Rights movement, where I have not been 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



209 



able to follow them. But their ability, purity of soul, and 
philanthropy can not be questioned. 

On another occasion, at a dinner party of the aristo- 
cratic blacks, quite other sentiments were aroused. When 
wine was served, with great formality, one of the party, 
in a very grave manner, said: "Ladies and gentlemen, 
please fill up your glasses; let us drink to the health of 
Cassius M. Clay — Liberator. Though he has a white 
skin, he has a very black heart." 

This complimentary toast, coming from a gentleman of 
the darkest hue, was well received; but to the whites pres-. 
ent it was, of course, very provocative of a laugh, which 
was with difficulty suppressed. A friend of mine, J. R. 
Johnston, who had a keen appreciation of the ludicrous, 
being present, barely maintained his equanimity; but great 
tear-drops stood in his eyes. 

Letter from, the Ladies of the Ashtabula County {Ohio,) Anti-Slaveiy 

Society. 

Austinburg, December 9. 1845. 
Cassius M. Clay, Esq. — 

Honored Sir: — From a distant corner of a State bordering 
on your own, we, the wives, daughters, and mothers of Ashtabula 
County, tender you the humble but heartfelt boon of our grateful 
sympathy. We have not been heartless spectators in this our 
country's struggle for liberty. Though our hands have been too 
idle, and our hearts too unbelieving, we have not carelessly viewed 
the strife. While our fathers, husbands, and brothers are rousing 
at the warning call, we, from our homes and from our firesides, 
hail yoit as the champion of our country's liberty. It needed the 
blow which has lately fallen upon you, to engrave on the hearts 
of the North the bitterness of slavery's injustice and intolerance — 
to rouse the lukewarm patriot into action. We have watched too 
long your disinterested course, to doubt that all the insults that 
were heaped upon your head, when it lay burning upon the fever- 
ish bed, have been compensated to your soul by the universal rush 
of indignation — of sympathy for all victims of the slave-holder — 
that burst from the free heart of the North against the authors of 
your misfortune — against the bulwarks of slavery. 
Vol. I. — 14 



2IO MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

We offer not the poor boon of pity to one whose spirit soars 
far above it — but, from the depths of our aroused and feeling 
hearts, we bid you "God-speed" on your way. Yes; and not 
merely for ourselves can we speak: Ohio's sympathies are with 
you, and more than hers. We but echo the united voice of the 
United Northern States, when we again bid you "God-speed" on 
your way. 

The struggle in which you are engaged is emphatically the 
strife between Liberty and Slavery. No corresponding movement 
in the cause of anti-slavery is marked on our country's page. 
Many a hand has been raised for its sake, and many a tongue 
has been eloquent in its behalf; but the friends of the slave, for- 
getting that "Union is strength," have heretofore been unable or 
unwilling to meet upon common ground. Rival parties and rival 
societies have sadly weakened the arm which might otherwise have 
wielded ere now the conqueror's sword. The serpent of political 
party strife has crept in to sting the heart of freedom's champion. 
But we hail yoti as the bond of Union — the connecting link around 
which all may once more center. 

The heart of every Abolitionist of every stripe is with you — 
from Garrison, with disunion on his lips, to the dumb-mouthed 
foe of slavery, who would shrink from the very idea of giving 
utterance to his own deep sentiments; aye, and many an one, too, 
who would spurn the name of "Abolitionist." We would not 
pluck a single star from the crowns of the pioneers in this glorious 
work — a Garrison, a Birney, a Tappan, and numerous others — 
men who "shrunk not from the brunt of the battle's front;" whose 
names stand nobly engraven on the foundation stones of Freedom's 
Temple. But we thank heaven for a banner — a leader, under 
which Abolitionists are disposed once more to unite; and we trem- 
ble when we think of the precarious situation of that leader. Rest 
assured that our prayers for your safety shall daily rise to Him who 
holdeth Nations as "the rivers of waters in His hand;" and while 
our hopes are centered on you, our hands shall not be idle. 

"When woman's heart is bleeding, 
Should woman's voice be hushed?" 

It is a disgrace to our country that the Anti-Slavery Society, in 
which our names now stand enrolled, did not, years ago, arise to 
add its mite to the common cause of humanity; but we have now 
enlisted, "heart and hand," in the cause; and if we but pour one 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 211 

drop into the swelling tide that begins to sweep resistlessly toward 
"Mason and Dixon's line" — if we but send back a cheer on the 
breeze that comes to us laden with the sighs of the oppressed — we 
shall not have labored in vain. 

And now our wish, our prayer, our trusting hope for you shall 
be, that the One that nerved the youthful arm of him whose simple 
sling overthrew Philistia's champion, may strengthen with a more 
than human power your arm in this struggle against that giant 
whose proud menace comes daily booming in the ears of liberty's 
defenders — the giant of slavery. We bid you onward — unshrink- 
ing — undeterred; and we know, too, that our voice is unneeded 
here. But, as the mothers and daughters of "'76" cheered on 
their dearest friends to deadly strife, though their heroes were of 
sternest mould, we cheer the hero of a severer, though a bloodless 
strife, with as true and as warm acclamations as those. 

We bid you farewell with fear, and with hope. Accept this 
tribute from grateful hearts that are bound to yours by an indis- 
soluble bond — the chain of liberty — the chain of human hearts 
that are waiting with you the dawning of Emancipation's star, and 
waiting with trembling anxiety its rise upon the heavens of America. 

By the unanimous vote of the Society. 

Betsey M. Cowles, Secretary. 

It need hardly be mentioned that I was never indicted 
by the grand-jury for killing Turner; although the powers 
in authority were so desirous of my death. The conspiracy 
to murder me was too plain to everybody for any pretense 
of that sort; and I stand justified in the opinion of men, 
and, what is better, in my own conscience, for the exer- 
cise of the eternal law of self-defense — Dr. G. Bailey 
to the contrary, notwithstanding. Nor were the conspira- 
tors indicted or punished for stabbing with intent to kill. 

When John Brown went down into Virginia and fool- 
ishly lost his life, he became a hero with the long-haired 
Abolitionists ; but when I fell in the defense of freedom 
of speech and the liberties of all men, these fellows shed 
tears, not because I triumphed, but because I used arms 
and was not killed ! And the same idea was held by Bis- 
mark's paid historian, Von Hoist. If I had been killed 
by the mob at Lexington, I would have held a prime po- 



212 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

sition in the world's eye ; but, as I was wise enough to 
live, and to cause slavery to die, he consigns me to the 
place of a foot-note ! For the tyrants of Europe hate 
me as much as the tyrants of America. 

Now, my attack was mostly on the Whig Party — bent 
on its ruin ; for, in our State, it comprised a large majority 
of the slave-holders, and they and I were of course ene- 
mies to the death. 

In the year 1851, the election for Governor was again 
pending ; and I declared myself a candidate on the anti- 
slavery issue — George D. Blakey, of Southern Kentucky, 
being my Lieutenant. * 

In the meantime, seeing that the non-slaveholders were 
prosecuted and driven out into the new States and the 
mountains of Kentucky, I projected a school of education 
for their benefit. 

I had some lands at the site of the Berea College. So 
I wrote to my Christian friend, the Rev. John G. Fee, of 
Bracken County — who was persecuted by his church, and 
disinherited by his father for his Christian faith and prac- 
tice, in regarding all men as brothers and equals before God 
and the law — to come and help me. He willingly came. 
I gave him a small tract of land for himself, and two hun- 
dred dollars to aid in building his house ; and another small 
tract of land for his church and his school. It has, by his 
efforts, now grown into a great and successful college, where 
whites and blacks, men and women, are educated on equal 
terms. This last feature is due to Fee's own leadership, 
and could not have been foreseen, but has always had my 
hearty approbation. As a proof of my foresight, that sec- 
tion now constitutes the only two liberal Congressional 
Districts in the State of Kentucky. 

Getting once more into my buggy, having sent a cou- 
rier ahead to make the appointments, I spoke in nearly 

*The gallant Blakey liberated all his slaves, and lives to see 
the end of slavery. — C, 1885. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 213 

every county of the State, where the scenes at Lawrence- 
burg were ever repeated — always threatened, and always 
coming out triumphant in the end. The incidents of this 
canvass would fill a volume ; but I tire of such oft-repeated 
tales, and hasten on to the end. The result was, that the 
Whig party was beaten, and L. W. Powell, the Democratic 
candidate, was elected. 

I received about 5,000 votes; but nearly 30,000, by my 
advice, staid away from the polls. Thus, and forever, fell 
the Whig Party in Kentucky ; and its national life went 
out in i860, when John Bell and Edward Everett bore the 
Whig standard in the fatal "forlorn-hope! " 

In the meantime the old actors on the political stage 
had died, or passed into retirement — Adams, Clay, Web- 
ster, Calhoun, Benton, and others — and were superseded 
by new men. There lingered yet one who deserves men- 
tion in this connection ; who still strove gallantly against 
fate. 

John J. Crittenden was the next man in Kentucky to 
Henry Clay. His popularity was unequaled. Always 
amiable and unambitious, he could at all times fill any 
public trust that he desired. A good lawyer ; an eloquent 
speaker, where extreme force was not needed ; a faithful 
friend; a safe, conservative statesman, he was Henry Clay's 
associate, but never assumed to be his equal or rival. In 
the last canvass, he was frankly for Taylor. His son, 
Thomas L. Crittenden, was, at Buena Vista, General Tay- 
lor's aide-de-camp; and his son George, an able soldier, 
was in Taylor's column, and also in General Scott's army. 

John J. Crittenden believed, as I did, that Clay could 
not carry the party, and he said so to him ; but he took 
no active part against him, though he was really the cen- 
ter of the opposition. This produced an alienation be- 
tween him and Clay; but they were reconciled before Mr. 
Clay's death. It was the policy of small men to flatter 
the vanity of Mr. Crittenden, and urge him to assert him- 
self; but this he, knowing too well what nature had done, 



2 14 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

or being true to his pledge of friendship, never did. No 
doubt he severely regretted the course of fate, and would 
at last have made Clay president if he had seen his way 
clear to such event. 

As Clay declined in years and strength, the slavery 
issue waxed stronger ; the breach between the North and 
the South widened. Mr. Crittenden, being then in the 
Senate, ventured to fill Clay's boots ; but they were evi- 
dently too large for him. The old attempts at compro- 
mise were feebly revived ; but, like assuagetives and often- 
used remedies, they aggravated the disease. 

Crittenden heartily loved the Union. He had no sym- 
pathy with slavery ; far less with disunion. But he floated, 
rather, upon the surface of the seas ; not sounding, or 
hardly caring to know the deep currents and rocks below. 
It was but piling damp wood upon an inextinguishable fire, 
which must at last increase the conflagration. 

The annexation of Texas, and the repeal of the Mis- 
souri Compromise, had convinced the North that Slavery 
and Liberty could no longer co-exist. The alliance, under 
a general Government, never real and cordial, had now 
grown into an open contest for supremacy. The South 
determined that all the States should be virtually slave 
States, or the Union should perish. Mr. Crittenden's at- 
tempt then, by his compromise resolutions and the amend- 
ments to the Constitution, going over the old ground once 
more, whilst they showed his kind nature and patriotism, 
all earnest men saw at a glance was doomed to defeat. 

Yet his talents and public services should and will be 
held in loving memory by all Kentuckians, and impartial 
men every-where. The two volumes of his life and writ- 
ings, edited by his daughter, Mrs. A. M. Coleman, 
under the title of " Life of J. J. Crittenden," is pleasant 
reading, and gives a very favorable idea of his ability as a 
speaker and debater. The correspondence with his con- 
temporaries shows him a general favorite ; and gives more 
secret history of the times than most other works I know 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 21 5 

of. Much of the matter is Boswellian ; but all the more 
interesting on that account. Who cares for the eternally 
repeated generalizations of the great? What interests is 
the inner life of men and women, which, various as the 
human face, presents ever novelty at least. 

Some of his correspondents show but little individuality, 
and less dignity. Every house must have its soiled clothes 
washed ; and every politician must also have a go-between, 
I suppose. 

Leslie Combs has two names: as usual — "Combs," in 
the West; and "Coombs," in the East. But Robert P. 
Letcher is the chief figure. He was heavy-bodied, with 
small short arms and legs, like the flappers of a shell-fish, 
with a round bullet head, resting apparently upon his 
shoulders, without any visible neck. His skin was dark, 
so that he was known as "Black Bob;" eyes large, shiny, 
black, and near together ; with a mouth like an empty 
seed-bag — capable of great expansion of its voluminous 
folds. On the whole, he was a small edition of Falstaff, 
with all his animality, and a little of his wit. 

Letcher was always my enemy ; and perhaps I am not 
the man to do him justice. And yet he is the most in- 
teresting and amusing part of Mrs. Coleman's work. He 
certainly has much humor; and his long service in Con- 
gress gave him a knowledge of men and ■ events which 
made him an associate of the leading men of his time. 
I confess that he interests me ; and we can say, with 
Prince Hal, over the death of the original Fat Jack: 
• We "better could have spared a better man." 

George Robertson's letter to Crittenden, (see Life, Vol. 
II.) in which he shows the conspiracy to prevent me from 
being Secretary of War under Lincoln's administration, is 
but a specimen of the low intrigues which my enemies 
have never scrupled to use against one who was always 
an over-match for them in the open field of honorable 
war. "B." (Daniel Breck,) had married Mrs. Lincoln's 
aunt, the sister of my friend, Robert S. Todd, Esq. And 



2l6 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

it is a marked example of Mr. Lincoln's self-control, when 
he listenened for two hours to the argument, that he 
ought to "take his enemies into his bosom," before he 
gave utterance to the words quoted. 

I allude to this matter now to say, that though never 
intimate with Crittenden, I was always on friendly terms 
with him and his family. And I have no evidence that 
he ever joined the crusade against me. 

In Mexico his son George B. was in difficulties with 
his superior officers, and called upon me, as a friend and 
Kentuckian, to carry a letter which might have involved 
me in a duel on his account, according to the fool-code ; 
but the superior officer had the good sense to place the 
matter in an adjustable form, and nothing came of it. 
Col. Crittenden has ever shown a grateful appreciation 
of my services; and Mr. Crittenden, who much loved his 
gallant son, was no doubt aware of our personal rela- 
tions. And J. J. Crittenden was not the man to show in- 
gratitude, or engage in a dishonorable intrigue against 
friend or foe. His daughter, Cornelia, who married Presi- 
dent J. C. Young of Danville College, Ky., was one of 
my contemporaries. She was a very attractive woman in 
mind and person, and left ever pleasant memories upon 
all who knew her. 

John J. Crittenden was longer in the Senate than any 
of his contemporaries. He had great influence in Presi- 
dential circles ; and was, withal, a good lawyer, and es- 
pecially a great advocate. There is one foot-note in Mrs. 
Coleman's "Life," which is worth more than all else in 
illustration of her father's character. I copy verbatim from 
Vol. II. : "At the time of Mr. Crittenden's death his entire 
estate was worth about eight thousand dollars." In those 
days of remorseless luxury, and political corruption, it is 
touching to see those lines. What evidence of honesty — 
of a humane nature — of a noble spirit! What proof of a 
life-engrossing patriotism! There are many millionaires 
now in politics, and in business ; but Crittenden was the 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 21 7 

wealthiest of all. The nation's wealth was his ; and, whilst 
that survived, he who served her so well could never want 
for a dollar! 

Taylor having been elected, I acted no more with the 
Whig Party — if he could be called a Whig. I had 
worked all my life for that party; but without asking, or 
receiving, any reward. I saw Harrison and Tyler and 
Taylor and Fillmore and Lincoln made Presidents, speak- 
ing in their cause every-where, often bearing my own ex- 
penses, and never receiving a dollar for my services, as 
did others. And now Taylor came into power, much by 
my effort, and, Crittenden being my friend, I could have 
entered public life with new elements of strength ; but I 
had a higher end in view — the establishment of the Union 
upon the only secure basis — Equal Rights to all Men 
before the Law. 

In the meantime Robert P. Letcher, having returned 
from Mexico as United States Minister Plenipotentiary, 
was chosen by the Whigs as their candidate for Congress, 
in the old Clay district, against the young and talented 
J. C. Breckinridge. Letcher had never been beaten be- 
fore the people ; but I had given that party a heavy blow 
in the defeat of Clay, and its prestige was gone. In pur- 
suance of my policy of disruption, I, of course,- sided with 
Breckinridge — not as a Democrat, but the opponent of 
Letcher and Whigery. I had around me a compact and 
plastic body of friends, which was sufficient to turn the 
scales of fate. I set all the wits against "Black Bob," 
and made him the jest of every crowd. Letcher had 
made his great success in the mountain counties ; but 
among a more intellectual constituency of the blue-grass 
region he was no match for Breckinridge. The "boys" 
said he might run well in the "pea-vine" region; but the 
"Black Horse was sure to get his feet tangled in the 
blue-grass, and fall." They recommended a "close stall 
and a short halter, lest he should rub his tail!" What 
can stand against ridicule ? I arranged for a meeting on 



2l8 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Boone's Creek, near the Kentucky River, adjoining my old 
County of Madison. We were in force on the ground, 
and played claqtiers as skillfully as a Paris opera-force. 

The contrast between the men was itself an argument. 
Breckinridge was tall, well-formed, with fair complexion, 
regular face of great mental power, large blue eyes, and 
auburn hair ; intellectual, composed, and full of conscious 
genius and future prowess. Letcher I have already de- 
scribed. He had grown so corpulent by age and heavy 
eating, that he seemed at times on the very verge of 
suffocation, or apoplexy. The weather was very warm. 
Breckinridge went at him with the coolness of a skilled 
swordsman ; making home-thrusts, and coolly observing 
the effect of each. Letcher was very much confused, 
greatly angry, and fought as one who had lost all muscu- 
lar power, and even eye-sight. The perspiration poured 
off him; and he literally "larded the earth." His voice 
was guttural, and ejected from his lungs as a badly- 
charged fuse of wet and dry powder. The boys shouted : 
"Cut the halter, and give him air!" It was a pitiable 
sight! Letcher had no friends. By invitation, all joined 
us, and down we went to the celebrated spring at Boone's 
Creek. 

The "Black Horse" was already beaten. That was 
the last of Letcher ! The boys were in high glee ; and 
old Bourbon and mint-sling were severely mixed with the 
cool waters of the noted spring. The heat of the day, 
the heat of the intellectual fight, and, lastly, the heat of 
the old Bourbon, reached a climax. 

Boone's Creek sent its drift into the Kentucky River, 
and formed a long "riffle," or shallows, with deep water- 
holes at intervals. The sun began to lengthen the shad- 
ows of the forest trees ; and more than a hundred men, 
leaving their clothes on the clear pebbles, went into the 
refreshing waters. I was among them. Nearly fifty yards 
below was another squad of bathers. I heard the cry : 
"Clay! Clay!" At first I thought it was a cry for a 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



219 



speech ; for when was there an occasion where in Amer- 
ica a speech was not in order? But, in a moment, I 
saw the situation — a man was drowning. I ran and 
plunged into the water. A young man named William 
Willis, a Madison County man, had come to the speak- 
ing. The water was clear; he was quiet, a foot or so 
beneath the surface, but his head was seen. I caught 
him by the hair ; and, holding his head beneath the water, 
swam with him to the shore. Many voices cried out: 
"Raise his head; he will drown." But I knew the danger 
of being caught and disabled ; and, in my own way, 
placed him safely on the shore. In an hour or so he 
was on foot again. So a farce came near ending in a 
tragedy — such is life.* 

Breckinridge's career is well known. That family was 
always remarkable for talent and character. In my times, 
Robert J. Breckinridge was the flower of the great men 
of that name. I heard him make his last political speech 
in Lexington, when I was at college in Transylvania. He 
was a man of too much mind not to see that there was 
no sure basis of progress in a slave State ; and was of 
too generous and frank a nature to conceal his sentiments. 
He was beaten, in Fayette, for the House of Representa- 
tives in Kentucky ; and never entered politics again. This 
drove him into the Church. Of course, such an intellect 

* When some gallant fellows saved the lives of drowning men 
at the Louisville Falls of the Ohio, the Kentucky Legislature 
honored them with a medal ; but when I saved the life of Willis, 
the pro-slavery journals would not even publish the fact ! And 
when I saved the lives of the soldiers at Salao, in Mexico, the 
political journals showered upon me all the possible calumnies of 
eternal hatred. So, when I would go no longer with the Repub- 
licans in their "Facihs descensus Averni," in 1866, — although all 
now admit that my work in Russia saved us from the united in- 
vasion of France, Spain, and England, against Mexico, and thus 
saved the Union, — they were unequalled in history in their de- 
tractive malice! 



2 20 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

could ne be a light under a bushel any where, and he 
was, in doctrinal matters, a great divine ; but, as I often 
said, the country lost a great statesman and orator in a 
poor preacher. For, after all, doctrine does not amount 
to much. We all know the right ; the preacher must move 
us to action: "Now is the time." There must be a vital 
faith ; and a personal or, rather, intellectual enthusiasm, to 
be a great preacher. Breckinridge's heart, I fear, lay in 
another field ; and that was closed to him for life. He 
was, however, always true to his early love ; and did yeo- 
man's service on many occasions, by speech and pen, 
against slavery, and in favor of the Union of the States. 
Some of his sons are living, and are now men of mark. 
Wm. C. P. Breckinridge, one of Kentucky's foremost ora- 
tors and statesmen, is now a candidate for Congress in 
the Clay district ; and. if elected, as it seems he will be, 
will make his mark in the national council. 

John C. Breckinridge was foremost whenever fortune 
led him. But defeat settled upon the "Lost Cause," 
and he fell with it. His circumstances were peculiar. 
He never was at heart a Secessionist. His party had 
greatly honored him ; and of him, I fear, it might well 
have been said: "Beware of ambition; by that the angels 
fell!" His country greatly honored and greatly trusted 
him. So much greater was his crime. There is no such 
thing as virtue and vice in this world, if this be not true. 
He was never relieved of his disabilities on account of 
the Rebellion. This he keenly felt. It caused, I doubt 
not, despair, and his early death. This is the most chari- 
table inference. But he did some deeds of repentance 
which should be held as offsets to his great offense. He 
denounced and effectively killed in Kentucky, at least, the 
remorseless " Ku-Klux-Klan." I never did approve of the 
State erecting a monument to his memory, whilst Union 
soldiers lie obscure in turf-covered graves. To honor 
those who have signally failed in the admitted duties of 
civilized society, for the defense of national life, with post- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 22 1 

humous fame, is to ignore the existence of good and 
evil. That should have been the work of private grief; 
for to frail humanity much leniency must be accorded, 
and over the graves even of the fallen tears may flow 
without the violation of the eternal laws. So great are 
the evils of a revolution that, even in a patriotic cause, 
there should be some reasonable chance of success to 
halo a failure. So that the saying: "Success makes the 
patriot, and defeat the traitor," can not be entirely con- 
demned. But to attempt the overthrow of the American 
Republic, to conserve the meanest of all despotisms — 
Slavery — should leave but little sympathy or honor for 
the " Lost Cause! " 

For Breckinridge's monument was appropriated ten 
thousand dollars ; whilst a resolution to allow a similar 
sum for a monument in memory of the gallant Union 
soldier, William Nelson, was voted down with contempt 
and indignation! 



CHAPTER XII 



Joel T. Hart. — His letters to me from Florence, Italy. — My speech at a 
Banquet given him at Lexington, Kv. — Hart's '-Triumph of Woman." — 
His death. — The Presidential Canvass of 1S52. — The Johnsons. — The 
Free-Soil Party of 1S56. — How I first met Abraham Lincoln. — Our 
further acquaintance.— My Correspondence with Rev. James S. Davis, 
of Cabin Creek, Ky. — Letter to ''Richmond Messenger." — I speak at 
Chicago. 



JOEL T. HART, the Sculptor, was born, in 1S10, in the 
County of Clarke, Kentucky, of humble but respect- 
able parents. His education was limited to the ordin- 
ary routine of the children of the poor — reading, writing, 
and arithmetic. He began his trade as a stone-mason, 
building walls, chimneys, and such rude work. Aspiring 
still higher, he assisted in the making of tomb-stones, 
where better material and fine work was needed. Whilst 
I was a resident of Lexington. Kentucky, Hart was thus 
employed ; where sculptured figures began to be used in 
higher ornamentation — alto-relievos and entire statuettes. 
In this Hart had so much skill that he attracted my 
attention ; and I persuaded him to attempt the highest 
art in sculpture. Working by day, he took night-lessons 
in drawing and anatomy ; and I engaged him to make of 
myself a nude bust in Italian marble, which was regarded 
as a great success. It was shown, about 1S38, in the 
Academy of Art in Philadelphia, and was highly com- 
mended. For this I paid him five hundred dollars — his 
first money in this direction. But the fame of the young 
Kentuckian grew apace ; and he was engaged, at good 
prices, to mould in marble Henry Clay. General Jackson, 
Crittenden, and others. Having the ambition to be first 
in his art, he went to Florence, in Italy, where the best 
222 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 2 2 "5 

opportunities were offered to the world's students; and 
there he remained — visiting Kentucky but once — till his 
death. Confining his work mostly to life-busts for a sup- 
port; but working, in fact, for the great ideal of his life, 
a nude statue of woman, which ultimated in his "Triumph 
of Woman" — the noblest representation of Nature's high- 
est work — a nude female statue, with a Cupid and his 
quiver exhausted of arrows. As I had much to do with 
this creation of genius, I have felt always a great interest 
in its final completion and success. As he made my first 
bust in clay, and then in marble, he had great ambition 
to make it a success, and took a long time and great 
pains in its execution. As a love of art, and the beauti- 
ful in nature, was ever a passion with me, I had many 
long talks with Hart upon this subject. I held that the 
education of the Greeks, in a fine climate, with light and 
loose clothing, and out-door exercise, caused that perfection 
of form which has made them famous in the world. Their 
statues then were, no doubt, the finest of all nations — 
health and vigor being the first elements of the beautiful ; 
whilst their heathen gods, of such great number, made 
Greece the highest school of art in the world. But the 
religion of the Greeks, whilst giving the highest develop- 
ment to man, had made woman as she was socially — 
simply a fine animal, having none of that infinite flexi- 
bility of feature and development of brain and the senti- 
ments which characterizes modern Christian society. So 
that the Greek face, with all its regular lines of beauty, 
never moved me as the modern woman. I thought the 
ancient Venuses could be surpassed by following nature 
more closely ; and that the Venuses of Medici, and of 
Milo, and others, could be exceeded in perfection and 
effect. To all this Hart agreed ; for he had a fine per- 
ception of the beautiful in sentiment, and the physical. 
Before he went to Europe, then, he had formed his 
plans; and the "Triumph of Woman," or, of "Chastity," 
was his life-work. He talked with me again when he 



224 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

was here from his foreign home; and wrote to me at 
times, giving an account of his progress. He studied 
anatomy and drawing under more skillful teachers abroad; 
and he made an innumerable number of measurements 
from life of the female figure in all countries — holding 
that nature was higher than art, and that the highest art 
was simply the aggregation in one group or person of all 
the finest elements of beauty. I have now letters from 
him written at Florence, expressing his gratification at his 
success ; and the appreciation which the most renowned 
living artists had expressed in favor of his work. He 
therein avows his design of inscribing my name upon this 
immortal statue, which failed only, no doubt, by his death, 
just as the finishing touches were to have been made. 

LETTERS OF JOEL T. HART. 

Lexington, Ky., November 28, i860. 

Dear Clay : — I regret not being able to see you and your 
family before I leave for New York, in two or three days, for 
Italy. I hope to be back, however, in some six months, to set 
up ... (omission ?) in New York, and have my works 

executed in Italy, where my studio and workmen are. 

I trust the column * has arrived safely at White Hall ; and beg 
of you to accept it as a little token of my gratitude to one who 
was so noble as you were in giving me the helping-hand in my 
earliest struggles and darkest days. 

I hope that you will be repaid for your ardent labors and sac- 
rifices for the common good. 

With my best regards to Mrs. Clay and your children, 

I am, ever most truly, your friend, 

Joel T. Hart. 

C. M. Clay, Esq., 
White Hall, Madison County, Ky. 

*This is a column, or pedestal, of solid verd-antique, with a movable cap-piece 
of the same material, highly sculptured with haut-reliefs. Hart paid all charges, even 
transportation ; and the column, at the lowest estimate, is valued at one thousand 
dollars. This is characteristic of the man ; caring nothing for money, hut full of 
the noblest ambition for fame. He is the fruit of my "ardent labors and sacrifices 
for the common good " — Freedom. It is a great truth, that the greatest and noblest 
of Kentuckians were Liberals. — C. 1885. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 225 

Among many, I select one more letter of Hart's, 
given verbatim : 

Florence, Italy, January 22, 1865. 

My Dear Clay: — I send you greetings, with a bit of my pat- 
riotism, which was published in one of the American newspapers, 
but not, I believe, in the Louisville Journal, where I first sent it. 

I was a soldier in your ranks in '45, and voted in the Con- 
vention in '49, at Frankfort; and have made war in many a song 
within the last four years against Slavery and for the Union, the 
most of which have been published in the United States. As you 
are the only man gifted and bold enough to stand up against that 
common curse in Kentucky through the press — risking your life 
and every thing — it gives me pleasure to write a word of your 
wisdom, which, had it been followed, State by State, the war would 
have been avoided. Though you deserve the first honors of the 
great and free Republic, yet they are not always granted while one 
is alive ; but, come what may, yours will be one of the first his- 
torical names. 

As to myself I have foregone every thing else to reach the 
first degree in my profession ; and, as you were my first patron, 
and of all the most cordial to greet and favor my labors, however 
humble, I know you will be pleased to hear a word of what I am 
about. And first, within the last fifteen months, I have remodeled 
my statue of H. Clay for Louisville — made it original, and far finer 
than either of my original ones; it is far advanced in an exquisite 
block of the finest marble. 

For my portraits the Italians gave me the first place of honor 
as sculptor, of any foreigner, in their great national exhibition three 
years ago. But it is to the Ideal that I have mostly devoted myself 
for the fifteen years past ; only allowing two or three busts to go out 
of my hands. 

I studied anatomy one hour a day for five or six years at Lex- 
ington in winter, having modeled busts of Dudley, Cross, etc.; have 
been five times to London, and studied there fourteen months at one 
time; five times to Paris, grouping tableaux with the fair Pompeian 
damsels ; five times to Rome ; once to Naples ; studied and measured 
every beautiful young woman I could get in reach of for the last 
thirty years, keeping my especial studies to myself, and have at last 
gratified my passion in modeling a life ideal Virgin and Child in a 
group; not the Christian Virgin and Child, however. The figures 
are nude — "Beauty's Triumph." She, being assailed by Cupid, 
Vol. I. — 15 



2 26 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

rests her left foot on his exhausted quiver, and holds his last arrow 
in triumph, for which he pleads — tiptoeing, reaching after it. It 
gives the most graceful and finest possible attitude both to the 
woman and the boy. All who dare speak out say that the attitude 
is finer than either the Venus de Medici, or the Venus of Milo, at 
Paris. Reinhart, the Baltimore sculptor, who Paris says is the best 
sculptor America yet produced (save our dear self), tells it around 
that it is the finest work in Florence. Such speeches are now every 
day being made. The idea is modern, and my own. Though not 
near finished, it is a far finer work than I ever expected to produce. 
I have casts of all the greatest antiques and moderns of the Venus 
family, and the like, in my studio. The best connoisseurs say that 
none of them equal mine. But this is too much, at least, for me to 
say ; but it is to you I am writing. 

I wish to exhibit it, in marble, in the United States. I would 
have it photographed, and send you a copy ; but it is best not to let 
the photographers now meddle with it. One or two sculptors have 
already plagiarized from it. I expect some day to engrave your 
name upon it, as my first patron ; but will talk of this bye and bye. 
I wish you would make a visit to old Italy. Drop me a line. In 
the hope that you and yours are all well, very truly, your friend, 

Joel T. Hart. 

Hon. C. M. Clay, 
U. S. Minister at St. Petersburg, Russia. 

Hart died in Florence ; and his remains are now buried 
in the public cemetery at Frankfort, Kentucky, brought 
home at the expense of his native State. The "Triumph 
of Woman," or of "Chastity," as it was first called, was 
bought of Hart's executors by the noted Tiffanys of New 
York, and sold by them to the ladies of Lexington, at five 
thousand dollars, where it will compose the nucleus of an 
art-gallery, hereafter to be erected. The statue is, unlike 
those of the Greeks, life-size. The body, in all its undu- 
lations, is according to nature, there being no attempt to 
cut it down to a supposed highest ideal ; but it follows 
Nature, where alone exists the true ideal. The face is 
not Greek, but modern ; and the attitude, unlike the 
Greek, whilst it displays all the beauties of form possible, 
is not at all sensually suggestive, but shows the most per- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 227 

feet unconsciousness, without which all the Venuses are not 
the real types of the highest ideal in art, but gross "pre- 
sentments" of animal life. 

Speech of C. M. Clay at the Banquet given Joel T. Hart at Lex- 
ington, Kentucky, i860. 

Gentlemen: — I am more than honored by this call. What- 
ever may be my very humble merits, I do not attribute it to 
them. I know that I but reflect the admiration you design for 
our distinguished guest. I see before me the early friend from 
Bourbon (Mr. Rogers), the gentleman on my right from Clarke, 
who has known his person longer than I. But I am his intimate 
companion from the infancy of that immortal past which we meet 
here to celebrate. I need not say to this audience, that Joel T. 
Hart was born, in 18 10, in old Clarke, in old Kentucky. These, 
our ancestors coming here, in the language of the Romans, into 
a terra incognita, filled with wild beasts and the more terrific 
savages of the forest, were not men whom difficulties could appal, 
or dangers daunt. The sickly scions perished by the wayside — 
the sturdy oaks only survived. Out of such stock sprung our 
guest; who, with the characteristic aspirations of our State, de- 
termined to be first or nothing/ — sprung from no family of he- 
reditary renown — a child of the people, wearing the coat of arms 
which our glorious institutions confer on all — " an open field and 
a fair fight" — he advanced from the humble calling of a stone- 
cutter to be the first in the divine art of living sculptors ! I have, 
I am proud to say, known him like a brother. I have seen him 
struggle through the long night of poverty aud obscurity, caring 
nothing for ease, luxury, social rank, wealth, or power; but with 
a steady and sublime purpose aspiring to immortality among men. 
Whatever we may do — whatever Kentucky may do — that pur- 
pose is achieved; and the world decrees that the name of Hart 
shall never die. I know what I say; I challenge criticism. We 
do not claim for Hart supremacy in abstract conception — in what 
may be termed, par excellence, "The Ideal." But we do claim 
for him that, in the perpetuation of that noblest work of nature ; in 
that on which only the Divine Writings tell us God impressed His 
own image, Man; on the tablet of whose world-wide intelligence 
the passions and aspirations of angels and devils in infinite flexi- 
bility of feature play, Hart has no equal, living or dead. He is 
no mere copyist — limning the leaden outlines of this our "earthly 



2 28 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

tabernacle;" but, seizing the happiest expression of his favored 
subject, he passes it through the crucible of his own genius, and 
imbues it with divine life. These people may pass away; their 
institutions may be forgotten ; but, as long as we shall be re- 
membered among men, Hart, Clay, and Kentucky will survive 
together. * 

It is an illustration of the powers of genius, and our 
free institutions, that this once obscure youth in Lexing- 
ton should at last be mpre honored by the elite of the 
ladies of Kentucky than any of the aristocracy who ever 
went before him. The Ladies' Hart Memorial Association 
bought the "Triumph of Woman" of the Tiffanys of New 
York, at $5,000; and it was made the occasion, when re- 
ceived in Kentucky, of many eulogies upon Hart. Mrs. 
Wm. C. P. Breckinridge, wife of the orator, and the grand- 
daughter of Governor Joseph Desha, was at the head of 
the movement. The poetess of JCentucky, Rosa Vertner, 
now Mrs. Rosa Vertner Jeffrey, who has been so long 
distinguished for her beauty, wrote the poem upon the 
occasion. Thus one of the most beautiful women of her 
times honored the impersonation of the highest type of 
her sex yet made immortal in art. 

Written for the Lexington Observer. 
HART'S "TRIUMPH OF CHASTITY." 

INSCRIBED TO 
MRS. WM. C P. BRECKINRIDGE. 



BY ROSA VERTNER JEFFREY. 



An artist's hand hath carved a mystic story, 
Whose inspiration through the marble shines; 

Its dumb, cold whiteness is transfused with glory, 
Illuminating all the beauty lines. 

A story! in the fair form of a woman, — 
Let woman's heart its subtle truth evolve; 

*This was before Hart made the "Triumph of Woman," and which is the 
highest ideal; being the first work of the Cosmos — "Woman" — unequalled in in- 
spiration. I speak on Burn's authority: "All nature swears," etc. — C. 1885. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 229 

This marble problem — yet with all so human, 
By genius left, for purity to solve. 

A rare creation, as to form and fashion, — 

A woman, by whose lofty pose is shown 
The soul's high triumph over earthly passion ; 

A fable ! marvelously cut in stone. 
With life's warm flushes through its pallor breaking 

To tint the cheek, and pulse the sculptured breast, 
'Twould scarcely be more eloquent — thus waking — 

Than in its perfect and eternal rest. 

A thing of faultless beauty, through long ages 

It must forever stand, forever shine ; 
Its meaning graved on Purity's white pages, 

Worshipped forever in her cloistered shrine. 
All honor to the genius thus achieving 

Such glorious triumph, with a master's hand, 
This chaste ideal of his soul receiving 

Its impress from- the women of his land. 

He gave them homage, without stint or measure; 

Upon the altar of his native home ; 
Be it their mission to enshrine this treasure, 

Fine as the sculptured gems of ancient Rome. 
Within the milk-white quarries of Carrara, 

No purer, fairer marble ever shone ; 
No purer women live, and none are fairer, 

Than those he has immortalized in stone. 
Lexington, Ky., April 15, 1884. 

Although the Democrats were beaten in 1848, they 
gathered strength by the weakness of Fillmore and the 
divisions of the Whio-s. Millard Fillmore, Daniel Web- 
ster, and Winfield Scott were the aspirants for nomina- 
tion ; and Scott was finally successful. The popularity of 
Taylor's military career, no doubt, aided the result ; whilst 
Webster's and Fillmore's subserviency to the slave-power 
disgusted even the conservative Whigs. 

Franklin Pierce, who was little known, but had been 
in the Mexican War, was made the nominee of the Demo- 



23O MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

crats — the prominent candidates having been Cass, Buch- 
anan, Douglas, and Marcy. But all personal aspirations 
were merged into solid devotion to the slave-power; and 
Pierce swept the country, losing only four States. 

The Free-soilers nominated John P. Hale and George 
W. Julian, as the representatives of the Liberal Party. 

There was this fatality about slavery: whether it lost 
or won, its fate was not changed. It took the sweeping 
vote of Pierce to make them mad with prosperity ; and 
their ultra platform, and violent action in Kansas, to arouse 
the people from their fatal lethargy. When the great 
Webster, who yielded so much of the old New-England 
spirit for compromise, was so contemptuously thrown over- 
board, lesser men took warning, and girded themselves 
for the inevitable conflict. 

The Missouri Compromise of 1820, by which all terri- 
tory north of 36 30' was forever consecrated to free soil 
and free men, had been held as sacred as the Constitution 
itself. When, therefore, a bill was brought into the Con- 
gress and passed, by which this time-honored compact 
was annulled, and slavery allowed to enter all the territo- 
ries, there was an alarm and indignation in the Nation 
which was never before witnessed. 

The Liberals were confirmed in their predictions of 
the attempt at universal supremacy by the Slave-power ; 
the ostrich-like Conservatives were dragged from their false 
security ; and the lovers of Liberty every-where saw that 
it was "now or never." The repeal of the Missouri Act, 
followed by other aggressions, showed that there could be 
no compromise between Liberty and Slavery. 

I took no part in the canvass ; but held my position in 
the advanced guard of the pioneers, sympathizing with the 
Free-soilers, but confining my action to Kentucky ; foresee- 
ing coming events, and securing every position for future 
action. 

The Johnsons were a very large, wealthy, and influen- 
tial family. Richard M. Johnson, the reported slayer of 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 23 I 

Tecumseh, had been nominated for Vice-President of the 
United States on the Democratic side. He was altogether 
devoted to politics ; and, though but of moderate talents, 
was a man of great energy, amiability, and ambition. He 
was the admitted leader of the party in Kentucky ; and 
his brothers and relations in several of the cotton States 
gave the family great power. In 1845 they were effective 
in overthrowing the Trite American on the 18th of August. 

After my return from Mexico, there was a better feeling 
toward me ; and I was approached by these men and emi- 
nent Whigs, and asked kindly to discontinue the slavery 
war, and that I should have any office in the gift of the 
people. These promises were not vain talk ; they were 
based upon the highest possibilities. But I declined all 
compromise, and stood by my colors to the last. 

The success of the Texas annexation, and the repeal 
of the Missouri Compromise, by which the slave-power 
entered Kansas, once set apart forever to free men, and, 
lastly, the Lecompton Constitution, aroused the whole 
North to the great issue. Disintegration of the old parties 
had long since, as I have said, set in ; but now leading poli- 
ticians began to fall into the ranks of the followers of John 
Quincy Adams. S. P. Chase, Martin Van Buren, John P. 
Hale, Joshua Giddings, Thomas H. Benton, John C. Fre- 
mont, G. W. Julian, Wm. H. Seward, the Blairs, and others, 
sooner or later, fell into the new party, opposed to the slave- 
power. In 1856, it had grown into respectable proportions; 
and John C. Fremont, Thomas H. Benton's son-in-law, 
who had won prominence by his march to California through 
the Rocky Mountains, was made the candidate for Presi- 
dent, with Wm. L. Dayton for Vice-President, of the Free- 
soil Party. Once more I took an active part in the can- 
vass in the North ; and spoke, as usual, to immense audi- 
ences. The violence against the opponents of the slave- 
power in the North was as relentless as in the South. E. 
B. Lovejoy was killed not long before at Alton, Illinois; 
and, in Indiana, many men were murdered at public meet- 



232 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

ings ; whilst O. P. Morton, then a Democrat, and Thomas 
A. Hendricks were our most unsparing opponents. 

Abraham Lincoln was first seen by me at Springfield, 
Illinois, in 1856. Here I made my appointment at the 
capital ; but, when the hour arrived, like at Frankfort, 
Kentucky, the doors were closed against me. Fortunately, 
the weather was pleasant; and the crowd immense. This 
noted man, who was to fill so large a space in the world's 
history, was then comparatively unknown, practicing law 
quietly at Springfield, with his associate, O. H. Browning. 
They sat under the trees. Whittling sticks, as he lay on 
the turf, Lincoln gave me a most patient hearing. I shall 
never forget his long, ungainly form, and his ever sad and 
homely face. He, too, was a native Kentuckian ; and 
could bear witness, in his own person, to the depressing 
influence of slavery upon all the races. All my weary and 
seemingly profitless speeches in Kentucky, in the Provi- 
dence of God, fell like seed sown in good ground ; and, 
when the day of fate came, whether the gallant State 
should declare for Union or Secession, she stood impreg- 
nable for the Union of our fathers. * So I flattered my- 

From the Washington Republic. 
* INTERESTING CORRESPONDENCE. 
We have received for publication the following correspondence. 
It will command the wide interest and attention with which every- 
thing is received by the public from Cassius M. Clay, than whom 
a more gallant spirit does not live: 

October 8, 1857. 
To the Editor of the Republic: 

The inclosed correspondence was not designed, when written, 
for publication ; but as Mr. Davis's letter evidently was intended 
to elicit from me something for general explanation, I have thought 
it best, and no breach of confidence, to send his letter and this 
reply at once to the press. Your obedient servant, 

C. M. Clay. 

Cabin Creek, Lewis Co., Ky. , Friday, October 2, 1857. 
Dear Sir : — In common with multitudes of the friends of free- 
dom, I learned with regret of the disturbances which have taken 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



233 



self, when Lincoln listened to my animated appeals for 
universal liberty for more than two hours, that I sowed 
there also seed which in due time bore fruit. At all 
events, he was ever kind and confidential with me; and 
to the day of his death there never was an unfriendly 
word or thought between us. 

I saw no more of Lincoln till after his celebrated can- 
vass with Stephen A. Douglas for the Senatorship of Illi- 
nois, in 1858. He was going on north to make that 
speech, before the young men of New York City, which 
placed him so eminently before the people for President. 
Here we renewed our old acquaintanceship; and I, on 
the cars, had a long talk with him on the great issue. 
He listened a long time — such was his habit — without 
saying a word ; and, when I had concluded my argument, 
he replied: "Yes, I always thought, Mr. Clay, that the 
man who made the corn should eat the corn." 

Now, these homely ways of expression lowered him in 
the estimation of weak men ; but his style was that of 
Franklin — natural and robust, and therefore impressive 
and convincing. 

place in Rockcastle County; and I was also sorry to learn, through 
the Cincinnati Commercial, that you did not feel at liberty to inter- 
pose your powerful influence for the maintenance of that freedom 
of speech which has been enjoyed through the blessing of Provi- 
dence on your exertions ; and I fear that friends in the Northern 
States will misapprehend your withdrawal of aid from Brother Fee, 
and infer that your zeal is slackening in the cause of universal 
liberty. 

I fear, too, that what you say about Brother Fee's position 
tending to revolution and insurrection may inflame the mob. 

But, of course, my impressions come from reports received 
from that region, and I know not the state of things as well as 
one on the ground. 

Would the determination on your part to secure to him the 
right of speech produce the impression that you indorsed the 
principles of the radical Abolitionists? I think not. The slave- 
holders and pro-slavery men who met a few weeks ago in Madison 



234 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Once in Washington, after he was President, in com- 
pany with a few friends, we had a talk about the fidelity 
of some person, either civil or military, to the Union ; and, 

did not think so. Judge Reid, formerly of this Circuit Court, did 
not think he was sanctioning the course of Brother Fee when he 
here charged the grand-jury not to bring in a bill against him. 

I wish, sir, you would use your influence in behalf of the un- 
restrained utterance of what this godly man honestly believes true. 
I am quite sure that the people of the free States would appre- 
ciate the action, and that your magnanimity in this respect would 
not be lost on the South. 

I should be happy to hear from you soon. Respectfully, 

James S. Davis. 
Mr. C. M. Clay. 

October 8, 1857. 

Rev. and Dear Sir : — Your favor of the 2d instant is received. 
I have avoided writing any thing upon the subject of the late mobs 
in Rockcastle County, Kentucky, preferring to lie myself under 
misapprehension rather than do any thing which might seem cal- 
culated to increase the embarrassment of our mutal friend, the 
Rev. John G. Fee. But since you put direct questions to me, 
with regard to our relative position, I do not feel at liberty to 
refuse a reply, and to assume whatever responsibility may rightly 
rest upon me. 

In the first place, then, I did not withdraw my influence from 
him, but he his from me. We acted together, from before 1848, 
upon the basis of Constitutional opposition to slavery. On the 4th 
of July, 1856, against my urgent advice and solemn protest, he 
publicly, from the stump, not in the capacity of a minister of the 
Gospel, but as a politician, made avowals in substance of the doc- 
trines of the Radical Abolitionists. That is, as I understand him, 
slavery being contrary to the higher law — the law of Nature and 
of God — is "no law," unconstitutional, and void, and ought not to 
be enforced by judge or citizen. In consequence of this separation 
from the Republican Party, the Central Club of our State called a 
meeting, and elected another Corresponding Secretary in Mr. Fee's 
stead, he being present, and silent, at the meeting. In taking his 
position, then, he separated himself from me and my party; and 
now, when his own action brings him into trouble, to blame me is 
unjust and absurd. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 235 

after hearing all that was said, Lincoln concluded: "Yes; 
he is a bad egg." As we left the White House, one of 
the company said: "Now, it is all right; but, for God's 

You complain that I characterized "Radicalism" as "revolu- 
tionary and insurrectionary." I think it is. And, having induced 
some of our citizens to embark their fortunes in this move against 
slavery, I have felt it my highest duty to keep them upon safe and 
legal grounds. The Radicals propose a fundamental change in our 
Government, and in a way not prescribed by the Constitution, but 
in violation of it. The distinguished head and front of the Radical 
Abolitionists, the Hon. Gerrit Smith, in his late Chicago speech, 
expressly declares the move a "revolutionary" one. Now, looking 
upon Mr. Fee's position as such, I am against it; and, whilst I 
denounce all mobs, I can give him neither "aid nor comfort." To 
talk of maintaining the liberty of speech in such connection, with- 
out indorsing his doctrines, is absurd. Such a propagandism in a 
slave State is not a thing of "speech" or debate, but a state of 
revolution and insurrection against "the powers that be." 

If there is "no law," moral, divine, nor human, to hold the 
slave, then the slave is as free as the master. If the slave is as 
free as the master, he has a right to resist the master. If he slays 
the master, he is acting under moral and legal self-defense, and not 
only does not deserve punishment by the courts or otherwise; but 
can demand, and ought to receive, "aid and comfort" from every 
Radical Abolitionist the world over. If all this is not ' ' insurrec- 
tionary and revolutionary," and indictable, and punishable with 
death under our statutes, whenever an overt act on the part of the 
slave shall give fact to theory, then I know nothing of law or logic. 
To all this I am opposed — now, in the past, and in the future. 
First, because I am in favor of a peaceable and fraternal solution of 
the slave question. History teaches me that political institutions 
grow, and are not made; and sudden changes have always been the 
cause of a retrocession, and not progress. I am ready to make 
sacrifices, not for a coup de mam, but for the gradual and stable 
advancement of civilization and humanity. Second, because my 
regard for the black race would lead me to deprecate an issue 
which, in my judgment, would drive them to the wall. Third, be- 
cause, if such issue as extermination should ever threaten either race, 
I am for my own, the white race, against all other races on earth. 

I have thus answered you frankly and fully. I stand now, 



236 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

sake, do not tell Sumner about the 'bad egg-" The 
truth is, those two words expressed more than ordinary 
men could put in many sentences. 

We all know Mr. Lincoln was not learned in books ; 
but he had a higher education in actual life than most of 
his compeers. I have always placed him first of all the 
men of the times in common sense. He was not a great 
projector — not a great pioneer — hence not in the first 

where I have always stood, upon Republican ground — the rule 
of the majority, and constitutional opposition to slavery. And, 
having spent fortune and lost friends and caste, and repeatedly 
risked my life in defense of the constitutional liberty of the whole 
human race, I feel that I can afford to look with contempt upon 
the idea that I am "slackening in my zeal," because I do not 
choose to follow the lead of every one who, however conscientious, 
may jeopard a good cause by fanaticism or folly. With regard to 
Mr. Fee, personally, I entertain toward him the most friendly 
feelings. I consider him honest and godly, as you say. He is 
a man of ability and pure mind. In the wide verge of life, des- 
tiny separates us ; he, and those who act with him, must reap the 
good and evil of their deeds ! 

Your obedient servant, 

C. M. Clay. 
Rev. Jas. S. Davis, Cabin Creek, etc. , Ky. 

From the Cincinnati Commercial. 
CASSIUS M. CLAY ON KENTUCKY MOBS. 

We have received the following from Mr. Clay for publication. 
It is a copy of a letter directed to the Richmond Messenger : 

December 28, 1859. 
Editor Richmond Messenger: 



v-> i 



I saw to-day, for the first time, my name used in connection 
with the Lynch-law proceedings of the late meeting of slave-holders 
in Richmond, in the following editorial of yours: 

"The Frankfort Yeoman learns that Cassius M. Clay has ex- 
pressed himself decidedly opposed to the opinions of Fee and his 
associates, and that they ought to be expelled from the State." 

It is well known that, on the 4th of July, from the stump, 
three years ago, I denounced the doctrine of the ' ' Radical Abo- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 237 

rank of thinkers among men; but, as an observer of men 
and measures, he was patient, conservative, and of sure 
conclusions. I do not say that more heroic surgery might 
not have put down the Rebellion; but it is plain that 
Lincoln was a man fitted for the leadership at a time 
when men differed so much about the ends as well as 
the methods of the war. The anti-slavery element in 
these States was never, and is not now, great. The 

litionists," and the Rev. John G. Fee, that "there is no law for 
Slavery," — and again, in a letter addressed through the press to 
Rev. James Davis, I repeated my disavowal of any such political 
sentiment on my part. I have again and again declared that, 
whilst I was willing to defend the liberty of speech and the press 
"to the uttermost," as the duty which I, in common with every 
citizen of this commonwealth, and this nation of freemen, owed to 
my country — that I did not believe the "radical doctrine" right, 
and, therefore, I would not jeopard my life in any such false issue. 
And this I said to Mr. Fee in private, long before our public sepa- 
ration. But, on the other side, I have never said that Fee, or any 
other man, or set of men, ought to be expelled from the State. I 
have always said that if the Radicals, Fee, or any other man, or set 
of men violated the laws, that I would aid in bringing them to pun- 
ishment; and that if there was no law to punish the holding or 
avowing Radical views in a commonwealth holding slaves, that the 
slave-holders had the political power, let them pass a law to meet 
the case. I am now, ever have been, and ever shall be, the sworn 
enemy to mobs, as the worst kind of all possible despotisms! 

So far as the Lynch-law Committee, through their organ, R. 
R. Stone, strikes at me as a "faction" and a "Republican," I 
regard it as "fair play in politics." I court full and fair discussion 
and scrutiny of the principles and aims of the "Republican Party." 
I have not yet learned to weigh my opinions by what numbers may 
say or think. I ask myself, am I right? and, when I feel that I am, 
I shall not be driven from my constitutional privilege of avowal 
whenever it may suit my good pleasure, although the Lynch-law 
Committee may not be able to sleep with "doors unbolted." 

The "Republican Party" may not be large enough to meet the 
wide vision of the Madison Lynchers ; but it is large enough to stand 
by all its convictions, and defend all its rights, whenever with speech, 
the pen, or the sword, it is attacked by despots! C. M. Clay. 



238 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Americans, like the English, are ever much in favor of 
their own liberty. Only when the slave-power projected 
universal dominion was the North aroused ; and only when 
it was the death of Slavery, or the death of the Union, 
did the great mass of Americans assent to its destruction. 
So Lincoln was not indifferent to slavery, as some of his 
superficial critics assert; but he was a type of the ma- 
jority of Americans who, whilst conscious of the evils of 
slavery, were not yet so enthusiastic as to desire to grap- 
ple with its difficulties. But Lincoln was not only wise, 
but good. He was not only good, but eminently patriotic. 
He was the most honest man that I ever knew. Relig- 
iously, he was an agnostic ; but practically, as the respon- 
sibilities of his position increased, his devotion to duty 
increased. So, like the great leaders of all times, he be- 
came more conscious of the weakness of Man and the 
power of God. 

These sentiments are variously characterized — with 
Cyrus, it was the gods ; with Caesar and Napoleon, it 
was individuality and destiny; and, with Lincoln, it grew 
more and more into a lively belief in the personal gov- 
ernment of God. This I inferred not so much from his 
words as his acts, and that sad submission to events and 
close observance of duty which seemed to rise above all 
human power over events. I think, therefore, that mo- 
rality and religion gain nothing by a perversion of facts ; 
and the noblest heroism of all the ages has followed close 
onto Theism. For then are the highest faculties of the 
mind, and the noblest aspirations of the soul, moving in 
the same direction to the grandest results of human 
achievements. Lincoln's death only added to the grand- 
eur of his figure ; and, in all our history, no man will as- 
cend higher on the steep where — 

"Fame's proud temple shines afar." 

I also denounced the Know-Nothing Party; and, by in- 
vitation, spoke to a great audience at Chicago, Illinois. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



Origin of the Republican Party. — The Revolutionary Committee of my 
County. — My Letter to the Citizens of Madison County. — Turmoil in 
Kentucky. — Remarks of the St. Louis "Democrat." — Another Triumph 
for Free Speech. — Letter to the Louisville "Journal." — Testimonial 
to Mrs. C. M. Clay. — Interview with Wm. H. Seward. — Resolutions of 
the Young Men's Republican Union of New York.— President Lincoln's 
first Cabinet. — Promised the Secretary of War Portfolio, I am offered 
the Mission to Spain. — I refuse, but accept the Mission to Russia. 



THE Slave-power, by trying to carry slavery into Kan- 
sas by force, showed the ultimate design of cutting 
the free States, with a line of slave States to the Canada 
line, from all possible extension toward the great West 
and Mexico. In this they were defeated. And again, 
when they could not force the Lecompton Constitution, in 
Kansas, down the throats of an unwilling people, they 
more than ever shattered the old parties, and consolidated 
the opposition to that power in the newly-named Repub- 
lican Party. 

Edward Bates of Missouri, W. H. Seward of New 
York, S. P. Chase of Ohio, and Abraham Lincoln of Illi- 
nois, were the most prominent candidates on our side. 
John Bell of Tennessee and Edward Everett of Massa- 
chusetts, as Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates, 
led the forlorn hope of the old Whigs ; whilst Jefferson 
Davis of Mississippi, S. A. Douglas of Illinois, and John C. 
Breckinridge of Kentucky, were the Democratic aspirants. 

I took great interest, of course, in the coming Conven- 
tion of the Republicans at Chicago. * I had been quite 

* I might fill a volume with the support which I received from 
the press, and the advanced intellects of my times, in the winter 
of 1859-60, during my struggles for the maintenance of free 
speech. No one knows the whole matter so well as myself; but 

239 



24O MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

intimate with S. P. Chase, an able and pure patriot. I had 
also been long a correspondent with Wm. H. Seward. By 
the rotten borough system of allowing votes in Convention 
to States which stand no chance of electoral strength, I had 
a large following in Kentucky, the other border States, 
in Western Virginia, and several of the Northern States, 
where I had spoken so often. So I was much courted by 

I refrain from renewing old enmities, seeing that I stand, whilst 
they fell. It gives me great pleasure, however, to here perpetu* 
ate the language of the famous editor of the Louisville Journal — 
George D. Prentice, Esq. — a man unrivalled in his day for ge- 
nius in journalism, who so ably and promptly stood on my side; 
and his own noble sentiments, whenever the galling chains of 
party fealty allowed. 

From the Louisville Journal, April 4, i860. 
CASSIUS M. CLAY'S APPEAL. 

We have been requested by C. M. Clay, as an act of justice 
alike to himself and to the community, to publish the following 
appeal to his fellow-citizens of the County of Madison. We feel 
bound in common manliness, if nothing higher or more sacred, to 
comply with Mr. Clay's request 

If, however, we are mistaken, as we trust we are not, and Mr. 
Clay's conviction is well-founded, we presume, without hesitation, 
that the sober, enlightened citizens of Madison will extinguish the 
guilty project in its very conception. They certainly owe its prompt 
extinction to themselves, as well as to the Commonwealth, whose 
stainless fame its execution would sully for all time to come. They 
owe its extinction to the cause of regulated liberty here and every- 
where else. The interests of civilization and of society demand it 
of them. There can be no excuse for such a project. None. Mr. 
Clay has separated himself from the Radical Abolitionists, whose 
nefarious sentiments provoked the recent lamentable, though per- 
haps necessary, proceedings in Madison County, by a line so broad 
and distinct, and so frequently and clearly touched, that nobody can 
fail to recognize it. 

He long ago cut entirely loose from these fanatical outlaws. 
He has time and again disowned their views and their purposes. 
He now solemnly disclaims all responsibility for their action. He 
proclaims himself strictly and purely a Republican. As such, and 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 24I 

the aspirants for the Presidency. Between Seward and 
Chase I felt bound to stand neutral, as they were mutual 
friends, and equally qualified for office. I made a visit to 
Washington, and was invited to dine with Seward ; which 
I did. He showed me the speech which he had elabo- 
rately written out for delivery in the Senate, as a cam- 
paign* document, and asked my criticism. In this speech 

as a loyal citizen, he plants himself in the shadow of the Consti- 
tution and the laws, and asks to be let alone. Assuming the cor- 
rectness of his statement, which we take to be indisputable, the 
petition is a just one, and can not be denied him without casting 
ineffaceable shame on the community and the State. It will not 
be denied him. It can not be. It is to us utterly incredible that 
any respectable citizen of Madison has ever entertained even the 
thought of denying him so plain and unquestionable a right: 

C. M. CLAY'S APPEAL. 

Fellow-Citizens of Madison County : — Learning from a re- 
liable source that the Revolutionary Committee of Madison are 
about to meet in Richmond again on next Monday, to take into 
consideration who are to be proscribed, and having understood 
that I only escaped their denunciation last Tuesday by a small 
majority, and that I am again to be considered on Monday, I 
avail myself of this means of making my protest and defense. I 
would greatly prefer always to meet my accusers face to face, 
and there make my defense ; but, as friends have insisted on my 
avoiding any pretense for a conflict, I yield to their wishes, and 
make this written appeal. In the first place, I, as a free citizen 
of a Constitutional Commonwealth, most solemnly protest against 
any power on earth but the legal and regularly constituted authori- 
ties of my country to decide in any manner upon my "life, lib- 
erty, or property." I regard, all impartial men will regard, him 
as the worst enemy of true liberty who acquiesces in any usurpa- 
tion, on the part of any man or set of men, of the sovereign 
power of the State. If every man in Madison would assent to 
the usurpation, it would be none the less an overthrow of the 
Constitution; which can be annulled, set aside, changed, or dis- 
obeyed with impunity only by the legal representatives of the 
people in convention assembled. But, according to the known 
facts, but about a fourth of the county signed the papers protest- 
Vol. I. — 16 



242 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

it will be seen that he took the ground that he was for 
the Union, slave or' free. Now, as the war had already 
virtually broken out in Kansas to make all slave or free 
States, I did not see the necessity of making a great 
party, and a great to-do about slavery, if we were to 
end where we began. I read his speech very carefully, 
and said nothing. The truth was, it killed SewarM with 

ing against the doctrines and action of the "Radical Abolition- 
ists" — Rev. John G. Fee and others. And it is well known that 
a very large number of those signing that paper were and are 
utterly opposed to any other than legal proceedings against those 
unhappy men, women, and children. So that the Committee have 
not the show of authority, three-fourths of the county having ab- 
solutely refused, amid threats of intimidation on the part of the 
movers, to sanction their illegal action. But, waiving all these 
considerations, I do not fear to plead to you on the merits of my 
cause. If it was a crime to resist the will and action of this revo- 
lutionary movement, I have not done even that, except by the 
high moral power of an earnest protest; refusing to join by force 
of arms in a common defense with the exiles. My reasons for 
this are these: I regarded the radical doctrine that "there is no 
law for slavery" as revolutionary. 

To deny the potency of the Constitution and the laws, is to 
set up an independent government in opposition to the existing 
government and laws; the two necessary policies and jurisdictions 
of which must inevitably at last come into physical conflict. And 
whilst I am opposed to slavery on all possible grounds, my love and 
respect for my constitution and my country override all other polit- 
ical considerations. My theory is, that slavery is a creature of law, 
and the subject of support, modification, increase, or destruction, as 
any other policy, and to be reached in the same way only — by 
moral suasion, by speeches, by the press, by the law, and by the 
constitution. That so long as it constitutes property, by laws — 
those laws must be respected and enforced in good faith. That 
the majority have the right to rule, because we know of no other 
or better way of promoting the ends of the government — the safety 
and happiness of the whole of the governed. That, if the slave- 
holders thus rule, we will acquiesce ; and, if we thus rule, they must 
acquiesce. And therefore the Republicans in Kentucky have been 
opposed to, and have steadily denounced, any illegal interference 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 243 

me forever! He was full of confidence, seemed to as- 
sume my support, and asked me to go and see Thurlow 
Weed, at Albany, New York. Holding, with John Quincy 
Adams, that, when a war with or for the States should 
break out, it was one of the essential powers of national 
existence to organize all its forces for self-preservation, 
I believed we had a right to destroy slavery. And it 

with slaves, from at home or abroad; they have given no counte- 
nance to the escape of slaves, to insubordination, or to servile in- 
surrection. Hence, on the 4th of July, 1856, at the Slate Lick 
Springs, in this county, when the Rev. John G. Fee avowed from 
the stump the Radical Abolition doctrine, I denounced it from the 
stump. He was Corresponding Secretary of the Central Republican 
Club at our first meeting in Richmond. He was displaced, and a 
Republican elected in his stead. When he was mobbed in several 
places, when his co-laborer, Rev. James S. Davis, asked my aid in 
defending Mr. Fee, I addressed a letter, dated October 8, 1857, 
declining to identify myself in any way with Mr. Fee's doctrine or 
action. These letters were first published in the Washington Re- 
public, in the face of the world, and were republished in the Louis- 
ville Journal and other Kentucky papers. Again, when the move- 
ment was made against the Bereans, I took the same neutral ground, 
in letters addressed to the Richmond Messenger, and to the Cincin- 
nati papers, one only of which was published in the Cincinnati 
Commercial, dated White Hall, Kentucky, December 28, i860, but 
which, I know not by what means, failed to reach Judge Field 
until the Monday following ; and, the exiles being gone, I went 
into the Messenger office and took it away, as the occasion for its 
publication had passed. Again, when I heard that J. G. Hanson, 
one of the exiles, had returned, I went on Friday last to the house 
of Alexander McWilliams, where we talked the matter over, and 
we coincided in opinion, as we always had done, that our friends 
should separate their fortunes altogether from Hanson and his 
party. On Saturday, with Jno. H. Rawlings, I went to Berea, 
and there used all my influence to persuade my Republican friends 
not to identify themselves at all in any manner with Hanson, but 
to ask him to sell his mill and move from the State, as his pres- 
ence would be a continual source of discontent, and might possibly 
involve the Republicans in a conflict, when innocent men might be 
killed. I stayed all night with William Stapp, where the same 



244 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

was my purpose to do so ; believing that there could be 
no liberty, even for the whites, in coexistence with this 
barbarism. 

In the meantime, the Blairs were for Edward Bates, a 
respectable old Whig of Missouri. They invited me to 
their residence at the Silver Springs, in Maryland ; and, 
without ceremony, said, if I would go for Bates, I should 

views were uttered and concurred in. I returned again through 
Berea, enforced with a parting word the same advice ; and was 
leaving for home, when Mr. Hanson hallooed. I stopped, and 
Mr. Rawlings introduced him to me. He asked me what was 
the public feeling toward him ? I replied that I would speak 
frankly with him ; that I was, as he knew, opposed to his polit- 
ical principles, and could not stand by him in any way, but that 
my personal feelings were kind toward him ; that I had not talked 
with the Committee, but I had heard things spoken in their con- 
fidence, and that the feeling of bitterness against him was greater 
than ever on account of his return ; and I hoped that he would 
leave the State for his own safety, as well as to avoid the possible 
fight between my friends and the Committee, because of his pres- 
ence. He remarked that he had found no fault with me ; that 
every one must stand on his own convictions; and that "every 
dog has his day." 

Taking leave of him, I went to Kingston, where I stayed all 
night with Whitt Moody. Whilst there, Messrs. Broaddus and 
Newland came in to see me, when I expressed the same views. 
I sent for Geo. W. Maupin, an old hunting companion, to spend 
the night with us, and have a friendly talk about the whole matter, 
as I knew he was one of the Committee, and had acted the part 
of a peace-maker when Tony was attacked in the first raid to Berea, 
as I was told. I then explained to Mr. Maupin, in the presence 
of Mr. Si. Newland and Whitt Moody, my whole position, as he 
had not read my Frankfort speech. I told him that he was one 
of a Revolutionary Committee ; that I should not interfere with 
their action if they confined themselves to the expulsion of the 
"Radicals;" but, if the Committee attacked the Republicans on 
account of principles, that we would defend ourselves to the last ; 
and that in such defense would shoot him, Reuben Monday, Ter- 
rill, or any other one of the Committee who aided and abetted 
any assassination of any of my party. That I was for peace; that 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 245 

be made Secretary of War. Now, for Henry Clay to be 
suspected of going for John Q. Adams, in consideration 
of being made Secretary of State, was infamous ; but to 
bargain for another cabinet office was quite patriotic ! The 
truth is, any combination of men for a great purpose, if 
that purpose is promoted by individual elevation, is not 
only admissible, but wise. And these gentlemen had the 

I told our friends at Berea that whoever stood in defense of Han- 
son, would do so at his own risk, and we would not stand by 
him; but that, if they cleared themselves of Hanson, and were 
attacked in their own right, we would make a common cause — 
we would take to the woods, and defend ourselves to the death. 

This, men of Madison, is my whole connection with the Radi- 
cals at Berea; all the time against their doctrines; all the time for 
the peace and the safety of the community. 

On Monday night I stayed with my sister, Mrs. Smith. On 
Tuesday, hearing that the excitement was mostly against me, and 
that I was thought to have dictated the letter of Hanson to Judge 
Field, with a view to bring about a war, I made my remarks at 
the court-house to clear the popular mind of all misapprehensions. 
The falsehood of the whole allegation is apparent, when you will 
see by the letter to Judge Field that it is dated on the 13th 
instant — two weeks ago — when I had neither seen nor known 
Hanson, nor been at Berea since my Northern tour, and therefore 
could not possibly have had any intercourse with him whatever. 
Now it turns out just as I expected — from what Mr. Newton said 
in Richmond last Wednesday, in the presence of G. W. Maupin 
and others — that the Republicans had nothing to do with Hanson, 
were for peace, and fought in their own defense. The Repub- 
licans of Berea say that their houses were rudely searched (which 
was admitted to me by one of the party) ; and I give you here a 
copy of a letter written to me by Messrs. Bland and Haley, stating 
the whole cause of the difficulty, which original letter, signed by 
them, and by H. Rawlings, can be seen by calling upon me: 

Berea, in the evening, March 30, i860. 
My friend, C. M. Clay: — I drop a few lines to you stating the facts con- 
cerning the fight. In the first place, it was not brought about over Hanson ; but 
over the treatment of George West. The Committee went to his house on the 
hunt for Hanson. West is in the last stage of consumption, and told his daughter 
to shut the door; and they broke the door down, and they cuffed and abused West 
and his daughter ; and we went to see West, with no view of seeing any of them. 



246 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

higher end in view. But I knew nothing of Bates' prin- 
ciples ; and I as frankly declined to support him. For 
this I lost favor with the Blairs. I concluded, however, 
to go to Albany, and did so ; where I met Thurlow Weed, 
the renowned camp-follower. He, of course, had been ad- 
vised of my coming, and received me in a gushing way; 
but, having made up my mind that not only Seward ought 

We met them, and I begged for peace, and did all I could to obtain it. I in- 
tended to take your good advice. Frank Bland and Green Haley. 

Here, men of Madison, are some of the facts, but not all of 
the facts — the language to the daughter of West was too gross for 
the public eye, and I therefore suppress it; nor were these the only 
outrages. A similar offense to the children of the poor brought on 
a revolution in that kingdom from which we draw our blood and 
our love of liberty. The story will sink deep into the hearts of 
thirty millions of Americans. The battle of the 26th day of March 
will never be forgotten in the annals of the nation ! 

You may drive these men into the mountains ; you may burn 
their houses ; you may hunt them down like wild beasts, till the 
last one falls by superior force ; but their cause is the cause of 
American liberty, and of the noblest instincts of human nature. 
Their martyrdom will light up the fires of civil war, which will per- 
vade the Union, and be extinguished only by the downfall of one 
or the other of these great powers, Liberty or Slavery, forever! 
Men of Madison, / stand by these men — I stand by the Constitution 
and laws of my native State — I stand by the Republican Party 
every-where — I stand by the liberties which I inherited from our 
fathers, and which my own blood has, from the beginning of the 
Revolution of 1776 to this hour, in every battle-field, been ready 
to defend. I stand, in a word, on my Frankfort speech of the 10th 
of January, i860, which I desire to place before the world as the 
ground of my faith and of my action. / shall in no way whatever 
recognize or submit to any Revolutionary Committee. 

At my country's call I have freely risked my life in her de- 
fense ; two years in exile from my home and family ; nine months 
in a foreign prison ; ready at all times to sacrifice money, health, 
and even life itself, I have brought back an unsullied name to the 
place of my birth, and which you were not the last to welcome as 
the common glory of our State. You may be strong enough to 
overpower me ; you can not drive me from the duty which I owe 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 247 

not to be the nominee, but could not be, I desired to 
make combinations which should be useful to my friend, 
should I decide for one. Weed talked all I wanted ; but, 
as I had no faith in his talk, I reduced some propositions 
to writing which would commit him and friends, in case 
of Seward's defeat in Chicago, to me and my friends. 
To this the camp-follower never replied. So I left Al- 
to myself, to my friends, and to my country. If I fall, I trust I 
shall not fall in vain ; and it will be enough for all my long-cherished 
aspirations if, perchance, my blood shall atone for the wrongs of 
my race, and these States shall at last be free ! 

C. M. Clay. 
White Hall, Ky, March 31, i860. 

LETTER FROM C. M. CLAY. 

White Hall, Ky. , March 29, i860. 
To the Editor of the Louisville Journal — 

The secret purpose of the leaders of the attack upon the ' ' Radi- 
cals" at Berea was to suppress Republicanism in Kentucky, and 
aimed more especially at me. Knowing that I relied upon the 
justice of my cause, and the irreproachable and patriotic purposes 
of my whole action in the Commonwealth, I in good faith cut my- 
self away from the revolutionary doctrines of the "Radical Aboli- 
tionists," and the unfortunate purposes of those who in their persons 
made an armed insurrection against the non-slaveholding whites of 
the Commonwealth. The proposition that the Legislature should, 
as it could constitutionally do, enact a law to meet the difficulty, 
and thus avoid all violence, was met by the Radical Abolitionists 
of the North, and their enemies here, with equal denunciation. 
The reason alleged was, that it was useless to drive off these non- 
resistants whilst I was left to agitate the slavery question ! And it 
is well known that my personal and political enemies desired to in- 
clude me in the proscription ! Nothing but the friendship of some 
of the Committee (when the proposition was made,) and the con- 
servatism of the county prevented. Finding that they did not get 
a safe opportunity to attack the Republicans through the Radicals, 
whom they supposed would be defended by us, they kept up their 
threats against me till my Frankfort speech rallied around me all 
the true lovers of constitutional liberty, and thwarted for the time 
their criminal designs. Every thing that I have said offensive to 



248 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

bany uncommitted to any one. It is useless to add, that 
from that day to the death of both these men, they were 
my implacable enemies. 

S. P. Chase was now my first choice; but "Bluff Ben. 
Wade," who was another trickster, and who envied Chase's 
high character and fame, set up for himself to divide the 
Ohio delegation, and thus throw Chase out of the contest. 
It was now Lincoln or Bates ; and, of course, I was for 
Lincoln. 

the slave-holding interest has been studiously paraded in the press 
and elsewhere, and calumny added, both by the slave-holders and 
the Radical Abolitionists of the North, to consummate my ruin and 
the downfall of the cause of liberty here. 

J. G. Hanson, one of the expelled Bereans, returned to Ken- 
tucky, his native State, on the $d day of this month, as published in 
a letter to the Centreville (Ind.) Republican. The mob again threat- 
ening him but faintly, he retired — which was well known here in 
all circles — to the mountains for a while ; and then was generally 
at Berea, having preached and attended Sunday-school more than 
once. But so soon as it was known that I was in Berea on Satur- 
day, a great excitement was got up, and stories circulated that I 
was there marshaling my forces against the revolutionary tribunal. 
By Sunday night the mob had taken the field; and, on Monday, 
brought on the collision at Berea, by "illegal search" of the houses 
of citizens there without warrant, adding insult to injury, ostensibly 
to find Hanson, but in reality to raise a row, which they succeeded 
in doing, several being shot on both sides. And the Revolutionary 
Committee, driven back, rallied again on Tuesday; and, finding no 
one; broke down that terrible thing — the saw-mill — and declared 
vengeance against me and the Republicans who were engaged in 
the fight. What was my true position? Standing on the doctrine 
of my Frankfort speech, I advised Mr. Hanson to leave the State, 
and thus save himself and my friends from the conflict which I well 
knew was premeditated by the Revolutionary Committee. On Sun- 
day night I stayed at Kingston, where I stated the whole thing, 
and my message of peace to Berea, to several slave-holders. One 
of the Revolutionary Committee being present, I was then informed 
by that committeeman that they were "after mc certainly" — that I 
"was the one wanted;" and it was currently reported that a special 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 249 

I did not go to the Convention, and had no idea that 
I would be nominated for President or Vice-President, 
though many friends so wrote me ; but I was next to 
Hannibal Hamlin of Maine ; and all say, if I had been 
there, I could have had the Vice-Presidential nomination 
over any one. But, Lincoln being the Presidential nomi- 
nee, it was thought prudent to allow Seward's friends to 
name the Vice-President; and, Hamlin of Maine being a 
Northern man, and Seward's friend, it was also thought 

detachment had been sent to "take me" wherever found — which the 
said detachment was very careful not to do ! At the same time the 
old letter of protest, which Hanson wrote on the 10th instant to 
Judge Field, was now talked of as being dictated by me at Berea 
on Saturday, to stir up the community to madness, and execute 
vengeance upon me without time for truth and reflection. On Tues- 
day I was, no doubt, saved from this ruse only by timely taking the 
stump, and showing the true people of Madison what I had really 
done ; and that some of the mob knew the whole thing on Monday, 
and had suppressed it with a view of connecting me with stirring 
up war in the State ! The Committee well know, whilst I shall not 
defend the Republicans in their mad purpose, that I will not be 
driven into acquiescence in their usurped power, nor from the de- 
fense of all Republicans who are attacked in their person or property 
because of their Republicanism. They desire to renew the fable of 
the wolf and the lamb ; and by the committal of outrages against 
my friends, which I am pledged to resist, to consummate, with a 
show of public justice, their own criminal designs against my life 
and cause. I publish these facts that all honest men may not be 
deluded; that we may stand or fall upon our merits; and not be 
overwhelmed with clamor, which is the strong weapon of mob vio- 
lence always. The Governor may make his demonstration ; the 
" Minie rifles" and "cannon" may come on to extinguish the just 
indignation of outraged freemen in vain. Standing upon the laws, 
the Constitution, and our own patriotic purposes, we shall not be 
intimidated by this new accession of power in the suppression of 
our rights. If civil war is begun, it will be begun against our most 
earnest implorations of the forbearance of friends, and most solemn 
protest against the aggressions of enemies of the common liberties 
of all ! If blood be shed, it will not be first shed by us ! If the 



25O MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

best to nominate him, and not me, of an adjoining State. 
I was well content with the result ; and entered heartily into 
the contest. 

It was generally talked of at Chicago, that I was to be 
made Secretary of War; and Lincoln himself wrote to me 
to that effect. He also wrote me a letter urging me to 
canvass Indiana for him ; which I did. This State was 
then Democratic ; but from all parts of Kentucky for long 

State shall fly to arms, and citizens North and South become in- 
volved in one common ruin, let those who shall begin the conflict 
answer for the end! C. M. Clay. 

From the New York Times, April, i860. 
TURMOIL IN KENTUCKY. 

. The committee then dispatched the following letter: 

Richmond, March 30, i860. 
Captain John Morgan, Messrs. Allen, Goodloe, Bruce, and Hunter — 

Gentlemen : — We send the bearer of this note, requesting you to send us a 
cannon. We are in a serious difficulty with the Fee party in our county, and we 
need a cannon to whip them out. Your attention to this will much oblige a great 
many good citizens of this county — citizens who will remember the kindness. Send 
us cannon-balls and cartridges, and every thing necessary to load it. All expenses 
and damages, if any, will be promptly paid. Your friends, 

Ed. Turner, Maj. Wm. Harris; 
R. R. Stone, Dr. Wm. Jennings, 
And others. 
P. S. — If you can, send us two or three of your boys who know how to load 
and shoot, and are competent to direct the piece, etc. E. W. Turner. 

We have no one who has been accustomed to loading or shooting a cannon^ 
and would like for some one to come who is competent. E. W. Turner. 

The Courier (Louisville, Ky.) adds, that the cannon was for 
warded, and the "Lexington Rifles" were ready to march. 

From the St. Louis Democrat, April, i860. 
MOBOCRACY IN KENTUCKY — C. M. CLAY'S APPEAL. 
The public are not ignorant of the unfortunate state of affairs 
which has prevailed for a considerable period in Madison County, 
Kentucky. There has been trouble there since 1856, but it was 
not until the past winter that it broke out into systematic violence 
and wholesale aggressions. One or two individuals, who profess 
radical anti-slavery opinions, had been mobbed previously; but last 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



2 5I 



years, when non-slaveholders were driven out for their 
opinions, they migrated mostly to Indiana. Thus, when I 
spoke there, a great number of Democrats came to hear 
me, and were won over to my cause. The upshot was, 
that we carried Indiana for Lincoln; and this saved the 
election. 

In the meantime, the Slave-power, who had seen their 
hopes of empire lost in Kansas, and in the election of 

December several families residing in a place called Berea, and the 
members of which are mainly natives of the State, were expelled 
for the same offence by a pro-slavery organization which has estab- 
lished itself as the supreme power in Madison County, One of the 
exiles, a gentleman by the name of Hanson, a Kentuckian by birth, 
who owned, it seems, a considerable property in Berea, returned 
there in March. This was the signal for another and more serious 
demonstration on the part of the pro-slavery men. They attacked 
Berea on the 26th day of March; but, after a sharp struggle with 
the people of the village, in which several were wounded on both 
sides, they were compelled to retreat. Renewing the assault, two 
or three days afterward, they succeeded in destroying a mill, the 
property of Hanson. Encouraged by this achievement, they deter- 
mined to expel, or exterminate, every Republican in the county. 
In pursuance of this design, they resolved, with true instinct, to 
strike the next blow at Cassius M. Clay. The lordly tower, or the 
oak — the monarch of the forest — is not more apt to attract the 
lightning from the clouds than such a man as Clay to draw upon 
his head the bolts of pro-slavery vengeance. His address to the 
citizens of Madison County was called forth by the dangers im- 
pending over him. The Revolutionary Committee sat in judg- 
ment on him once, on which occasion he escaped "denounce- 
ment," namely, exile or death, by a small majority. The subject 
was to be reconsidered at a subsequent meeting, and in the inter- 
val the Address appeared. We find it called an "Appeal" in the 
newspapers; but the body of the document proved that to be a 
misnomer. It is a statement of the writer's case, concluding with 
a most emphatic declaration, that he will never recognize, much 
less submit or yield, to the Revolutionary Committee ; that, on the 
contrary, he will fight to the death first. He vindicates himself 
from the accusation of having any affiliation with the Radical Abo- 
litionists, showing by indubitable testimony that he not only repu- 



252 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Lincoln, looked to war, and a Southern Slave Confedera- 
tion expanding toward Mexico and the tropical islands ; 
and they made the election of Lincoln the nominal pretext 
for revolution. 

I was the only speaker, so far as I am informed, who 
always predicted war in case of Democratic defeat; and 
accepted the issue. 

So I never wrote to Lincoln, or went to the inaugura- 

diates their doctrines, but counseled the Republicans of Berea to 
refuse, like himself, to make common cause with Hanson, and the 
associates of Hanson. These Republicans, it appears, had a cause 
for acting as they did, altogether non-political — a cause which true 
men of all parties will pronounce, not only a just, but an impera- 
tive one. Clay is a Republican pure and simple, and will not, 
therefore, take up arms in defense of Abolitionists, however much 
he may regret the violation of the Constitution and the laws of 
Kentucky in their persons; but, being a Republican, a soldier, and 
a hero, he will fight, and, if need be, perish in defense of Repub- 
licans and Republican principles. This is his position ; these are 
ideas which he avows. 

Our deliberate opinion is, that his enemies in Madison County 
will never be able to make him a martyr to the Republican cause. ; 
but we are by no means so sure that they may not succeed in 
making him President of the United States. Notice of ejectment 
may be served on him, but he will not quit the State; and it 
were to doubt the manhood and chivalry of Kentucky to suppose 
that the Revolutionary Committee, and their adherents, would be 
permitted to slay him. We rather opine that the Committee in 
question have discovered before this time that discretion is the 
better part of valor. They have heard the lion's roar in that 
Address ; and we have no doubt it has had a salutary effect on 
their deliberations. Were Clay forced into the position of defend- 
ing his common rights as a citizen, by physical force, troops of 
Kentuckians, we have not the slightest doubt, and especially of his 
old companions in arms, would flock to his assistance. The law, 
too, and all law-abiding citizens, would be on his side, and against 
the revolutionary mob. No, he could not be conquered ; but a 
demonstration against him, like that threatened, would very prob- 
ably make him the favorite of the Chicago Convention, and the idol 
•of the entire non-slaveholding population of the country. There- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 253 

tion at Washington ; waiting quietly to be called to the 
responsible post to which public sentiment and the Presi- 
dent himself had pointed. The first enlightenment I had 
of the intrigues against me was the publication, in the 
Washington journals, that I had been appointed Minister 
Plenipotentiary to Spain. I went at once to Washington. 
Seward had been made Secretary of State, Simon Cam- 
eron of War, Edward Bates Attorney-General, Gideon 

fore, as the advocate of the Bates movement, as well as admirers 
of his eloquence and ability, of the nobleness of his character, and 
of his truly heroic life, we desire that he may not be molested. 
Could our voice reach the Revolutionary Committee of Madison, 
we would entreat that Jacobin tribunal to let him alone for its own 
sake, for his sake, and for ours — most of all, for its own; for we 
entertain the notion that such of its members as should proceed to 
execute the "denouncement" would experience a premature and 
tragic fate. 

But what shall be said of the government and laws of Ken- 
tucky. In one of the oldest counties of that old and illustrious 
Commonwealth, a reign of terror has prevailed for months; mob- 
ocracy has trampled on the laws with impunity, and committed, in 
open day, and through the instrumentality of organized bands, out- 
rages on person and property— exiling the one, and destroying 
the other. 

Repeated attempts have been made in Missouri to drive out 
free negroes; but the only power invoked for that purpose was 
the legislative power. In Kentucky they drive out white men, na- 
tives of the soil, not only without legal warrant, but with indifference 
to the Constitution and the statutes. We have had a queer Gov- 
ernor in this State, and we have had a queer Legislature — one 
distinguished equally for its inhumanity and its imbecility; but yet 
we can take some comfort by comparing ourselves with Kentucky. 
Since the end of the Kansas difficulties, and the Blue Lodge 
regime, Abolitionists as well as Democrats, Americans and Repub- 
licans, are permitted to live amongst us. Except some of the 
country banks, no person or association of persons, and slave- 
holders least of all, invoke the interposition of Lynch judgment 
and terrorism. The crime of negro-stealing is punished by the 
laws, and not by mobs, just like any other larceny. Although we 
dare not say that the expression of extreme anti-slavery opinions 



254 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Wells Secretary of the Navy, and Caleb B. Smith Secre- 
tary of the Interior, with Montgomery Blair Postmaster- 
General. I went directly to Lincoln, and told him I 
would not accept the mission to an old, effete government 
like Spain ; that I had, at my own expense and great 
sacrifice of money and time, canvassed for five real and 
acting Presidents, and had never asked an office for my- 
self or any friend ; that I had labored for the time to 
come when I could accept office only to vindicate my prin- 
ciples ; and now, since they seemed to have so many bet- 
ter men than myself, I should go home at once, and 
settle down into private life. (I never named his promise 
about the War Department till my recall from Russia, in 
1862.) Lincoln seemed much affected, and said: "Well, 

is tolerated in all parts of our State, yet, except in the case of 
Mr. Milliken, of Kirkville, we can remember no recent case of 
persecution, or attempt at persecution, for political opinions of 
any kind; though it is certain, from our large immigration for the 
last few years, that every shade of opinion is represented among 
our population. Even the persecution against Milliken, we be- 
lieve, died out without producing an overt act. Missouri may, 
therefore, plume herself by comparison with a State which per- 
mits an illegal Society to drive her native children by force into 
exile, for no other cause than their opinions. 

Fro?n the New York World. 

ANOTHER TRIUMPH FOR FREE SPEECH — C. M. CLAY AT RICH- 
MOND, KENTUCKY. 

Cassius M. Clay won another victory for free speech, and 
struck a good blow in behalf of Republicanism, at Richmond, 
Kentucky, the county seat of Madison County, on the 4th instant 
(April, i860). This was the day of the opening of the County 
Court; and a large number of people were, of course, present 
from the surrounding country. 

Mr. Clay had publicly announced, through both the papers 
issued at Richmond, that he intended to speak on this occasion, 
and the subject was much canvassed in the streets. The more 
violent portion of the Revolutionary Committee, we learn, were 
for silencing him. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 255 

what office would you accept?" I said, seeing the Cabi- 
net was filled, I would go as Minister Plenipotentiary to 
London or to Paris. He said those were already full — 
Wm. O. Dayton having been named for Paris, and Charles 
Francis Adams for England. This was the first I had 
heard of these appointments ; and I saw the hand of Se- 
ward in all my defeats. I said: "Well, that settles the 
matter." So, taking my hat, I was about taking my leave, 
when Lincoln said: "Do not go home. I will consider 
the proposition." 

That day I dined at the house of H. S. Sanford, who 
was just made Minister Resident at Belgium, with a large 
party of the most prominent Republicans. After dinner, 
Senator Ed. D. Baker of Oregon, who had been in Mexico 

At one o'clock p. m., the large court-house was packed to its 
utmost capacity. Mr. Clay took up the Republican platform and 
read it, making no allusion to the mob, but going on to vindicate 
the principles laid down in that platform. Finding him prudent 
enough to avoid any mention of the mob, one of the most vio- 
lent of them declared that Mr. Clay should be "shot through the 
head.'" Mr. Clay said he claimed the same equal rights as were 
allowed other parties, and that he would "stand or fall there!" 
The clamor against him continued; but the great mass cried out: 
"Go on."* 

Mr. Clay then said : ' ' Gentlemen, I see what you are after. 
If nothing but a fight will do you, we are ready for you. Now 
try it. Shall I speak, citizens, or not?" "Yes, yes; go on," 
was the response from the great majority of the crowd. A doz- 
en voices cried out: "No, no." To which Mr. Clay replied: 
"Then go out" (great applause), "if you do not want to hear!" 
And they went out, completely foiled in their attempt at assas- 
sination. 

Mr. Clay made a strong speech, which told with great effect 
upon his large audience. Many "Union" men, we are told, de- 
clared for Lincoln that day. Our Republican friends there are in 
good spirits. They say the cause is progressing; and that the 

•-These were the men who drove out the Rev. John G. Fee, and forty others, 
from Berea. H. Cavanaugh was afterward shot, through a window in his own 
house, and killed. The slave-power was as violent then as ever before. — C. 1885. 



256 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

with me, and who was intimate with Lincoln and myself, — 
he who was afterward killed at Ball's Bluff, — came in, 
and, taking me aside, said he had held a conversation 
with Lincoln, and that he was very much disturbed about 
me ; that Seward had promised the two missions named 
to Dayton and Adams, and they would be offended if 
those missions were given to others ; that Lincoln thought 
my going home would injure the cause, and would like to 
do something, if possible, to satisfy me ; and this argu- 
ment Baker fully sustained. He said: "Mr. Lincoln has 
not decided not to give you one of the posts you desire ; 

time is not far distant when Kentucky will not only tolerate free 
speech, but will also range herself on the right side. 

From the Neiu York Tribune. 
TESTIMONIAL TO MRS. C. M. CLAY. 
The splendid portrait of Hon. Cassius M. Clay, which attracts 
so much attention at the Tremont House, is on its way to White 
Hall, Kentucky, to be presented to Mrs. Clay, as indicated by the 
subjoined letter. The portrait is one of Brady's best imperial mez- 
zotint photographs, and is a perfect likeness of the hero of Frank- 
fort. We append the letter: 

New York, April 3, i860. 
Mrs. C. M. Clay — 

Madam : — The undersigned friends of your distinguished husband, and officers 
of the organization under the auspices of which he made his recent eloquent political 
address in this city, beg you to accept the photographic likeness herewith sent as a 
feeble testimonial of their admiration of that heroic devotion to liberty and the right 
which has characterized the life and made illustrious the name of Cassius M. Clay. 
With best wishes for your continued health and prosperity, we are, with great respect, 

Cephas Brainerd, R. C McCormick, 

George P. Edgar, Dexter A. Hawkins, 

D. H. Gildersleeve, Charles C. Nott, 
Wm. M. Franklin, Charles H. Cooper, 

Frank W. Ballard, Charles T. Rodgers, 
Erasmus Sterling, Benj. F. Mannierre, 

Hiram Barney. 

From the New York Evening Post. 
CASSIUS M. CLAY AND THE YOUNG MEN'S REPUBLICAN UNION. 
The following resolutions were unanimously adopted at a meet- 
ing of the Young Men's Republican Union, last evening (April 7, 
i860): 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 257 

but can not you find something else that will do?" I 
then said to him: "Russia is a great and young nation, 
and must much influence this great crisis; I will go there." 
He seemed to have anticipated me, and said: "All right; 
get your hat, and we will go at once and see the Presi- 
dent." So saying, we went; and found Lincoln alone, 
evidently looking for us. When Baker explained that I 
would accept the Russian mission, Lincoln rose up ; and, 
taking my hand, said: "Clay, I thank you; you relieve 
me of great embarrassment." And so that matter ended. 

Whereas, We have been advised that our much-esteemed 
friend, the Hon. Cassius M. Clay, is now being grossly assailed 
by the advocates of slavery in the State of Kentucky, with the 
evident intent of expelling him from the home of the Clays, or 
depriving him of his life, because he has had the boldness to 
express his opinions — a right guaranteed to every citizen by the 
Constitution of the United States — therefore, be it — 

Resolved, That the "Young Men's Republican Union," of the 
city and county of New York, fully appreciate the disinterested, 
philanthropic, and patriotic motives of the Hon. Cassius M. Clay 
in his efforts to promote the honor and prosperity of his native 
State; do sympathize with him in his present difficulties; and sin- 
cerely hope that the noble stand he has taken, in fearlessly ex- 
pressing his opinions, may open the eyes of his fellow-citizens to 
a sense of their true position, and bring about such a change in 
their sentiments as may awaken them to a sense of justice, dic- 
tated by patriotic impulses, to vindicate the rights'- of a noble and 
generous man, as well as to preserve the fair fame and welfare 
of our common country. 

Resolved, That we recognize, in the action of those who are 
engaged in this attack upon Mr. Clay, a desire to crush the 
friends of freedom in Kentucky, who accept the great principles 
of the Republican Party as their political faith, and who look 
upon Mr. Clay as their leader in that State. 

Resolved, That the foregoing preamble and resolutions be pub- 
lished in the New York Tribwte, Evening Post, and Herald; and 
that a copy be sent to the Hon. Cassius M. Clay. 

Charles T. Rodgers, President, 
Erasmus Sterling, Secretary. 
Vol. I. — 17 



258 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Returning to Kentucky, I made immediate arrange- 
ments ; and, taking my whole family, except Green Clay, 
I returned to Washington. Seward treated me with the 
greatest coolness ; advanced me no money, as was usual 
in such cases, from the treasury, and gave me no instruc- 
tions, but the simple accustomed credentials certifying my 
office. 

I had set out in life one of the wealthiest men in the 
West ; had never lived extravagantly, but had devoted all 
my means and energies to the accomplishment of my po- 
litical views. I now felt extremely the cold treatment 
which I had received from my allies, but abated nothing 
in heart or hope. Whilst I was waiting for the instruc- 
tions which I never received, the Rebellion culminated in 
the destruction of the National ships in the Chesapeake, 
and the bloodshed of the Massachusetts troops in Balti- 
more. I heard the news of the ships ; and, going at 
once to my family at Willard's, told them to immediately 
take the omnibus, which was at the door, for the railroad, 
go on to Philadelphia, and there await my coming. So, 
leaving their clothes and trunks unpacked, they reached 
the depot, and escaped to Philadelphia. 



CHAPTER XIV 



The Clay Battalion. — Defense of Washington City. — The C. M. Clay 
Guards, 1861. —General James H. Lane. —Testimonials.— Hon. Charles 
Sumner urges my acceptance of the Commission of Major-General. — I 

DECLINE, AND PROCEED ON MY MISSION TO RUSSIA. — W. R. HENLEY. — SCRAPS 

of History. — Issue of Veracity between B. F. Wade and myself. — Tele- 
gram FROM THE BLAIRS. — CONTINUED ASSAULTS BY THE SEWARD FACTION.— 

Extracts from the Newspapers — New York "Evening Post," "World," 
and Erie (Pa.) "Gazette," indorsing me for Secretary of War. 



HENRY WILSON, in his "History of the Slave- 
Power," gives a very poor and inaccurate account 
of the defense of Washington ; in which I took so active 
a part. This history was written after my return from 
Europe, and I had taken sides in favor of the autonomy 
of the South. So Wilson was not at all different from 
most Republicans, if he could not do me justice. James 
H. Lane, of Kansas, then Senator, and myself had all 
along been at war with the Slave-power ; and, whilst 
other men were paralyzed by their warlike movements, 
we were ready to move steadily in defense. There was 
no meeting at the Willard Hotel but of my own getting 
up ; nor was there, as Wilson says, a separate movement 
by me in the theater at that hotel. I began and con- 
ducted the whole organization myself — I at Willard's, 
and Lane at another part of the city, where he boarded. 
Willard's was full of guests, from top to bottom, most 
of them Southerners. There were rumors of the capture 
of Washington from the beginning ; and, as soon as the 
ships were sunk, I knew that the war there had begun, 
and that Washington was the point of all the strategy. 
The District was in the midst of the slave States of Vir- 
ginia and Maryland, which were confidentially relied upon 

259 



26O MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

to join the South, and which would have been the result 
but for the patriotism of Governor Hicks, backed up by 
the great genius and moral support of Miss Anne Ella 
Carroll, daughter of Ex-Governor Carroll, of Maryland. 
The possession of the capital would have given the South 
at once recognition by foreign governments ; most of whom 
were more than willing to see the overthrow of free insti- 
tutions. 

That very night I began the enlistment of volunteers 
for the defense of Washington. The troops of the Gov- 
ernment were but a fragment of the force necessary to 
defend the city against traitors in and out of the army ; 
and Col. McGruder, who commanded the largest force, 
the artillery, was a traitor, and soon went over to the 
enemy. General Scott, then in command in Washington, 
was old, and not up to the political forces at work. I oc- 
cupied a parlor and bed-room, and kept a fine pair of 
Colt's revolvers loaded in the latter, whilst I wore my 
accustomed Bowie-knife. As the names of the volunteers 
were listed, I gave the pass-word ; and no person what- 
ever was entered on the roll whose loyalty was not sus- 
tained by our several friends. Henry Wilson is mistaken 
about oaths being taken. The entrance to the church, once 
a theater, was from the hall of the floor where I roomed; 
and, when the force was sufficient, the companies were 
organized, and I was made the commander. This recruit- 
ing went on several days, till we had about as many 
men as the old theater could hold. 

One day, whilst I was alone in my room, two ruffians 
of notoriety from California entered my apartment, and 
asked to be enrolled. I told them none but friends 
vouched for as loyal to the Government could be ad- 
mitted, and asked them to bring such proof. Thereupon 
one of them, running his hand into his pocket, pulled out 
several pistol-balls, and, rolling them in his palm, said : 
"Here are our vouchers." Without a word, I went into 
my bed-room, and, having my pistols cocked, one in each 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 26 I 

hand, I — having "the drop" upon them, as they say out 
West — drove them to the extremity of the hall, and down 
stairs. 

The same evening, as our men were by agreement 
entering our theater in considerable numbers, I standing 
and taking the pass-word, a stranger came up and at- 
tempted to pass. I called for the word ; he had none, 
but said he "had as much right to go in there as any 
one." I then leveled my pistol quickly at his head, and 
said: "These are war-times, and I am not to be trifled 
with. If you do not give back at once, I will put a ball 
through your brains." He sullenly retired. 

I had not seen General Scott since I dined with him 
in the City of Mexico. I sought him at his quarters; but 
his staff were present, and I could not tell my business, 
so I asked him into another room, but they followed ; and 
I, seeing that they were determined not to give me a 
private audience with the general, saying I would come 
again, retired. I finally got an interview, and told the 
general that the object of the rebels was to take Wash- 
ington, and that no time was to be lost. I advised him 
to concentrate his forces in some of the strong public 
buildings ; and hold his position, if attacked, till reinforce- 
ments could arrive, and that we could give him — I and 
Lane — considerable help. Scott said I was right, per- 
haps ; that he was on the lookout, but that the moral 
effect of the movement would be more depressing than 
the physical strength gained. This, on reflection, I agreed 
was wise. The general also told me that he had several 
employes about his house and quarters unarmed, and that 
he wished I would supply the messenger he would quietly 
send with some of the arms I had drawn from the War 
Department. I told him I would cheerfully do so ; and 
that nieht he sent for and got them. 

Knowing that a certain gentleman, whom I suspected 
of being in sympathy with the rebels, would most likely 
repeat my saying, I told him it was possible the next day 



262 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

martial law would be declared, and some of the rebels 
then in Willard's hotel shot. It turned out as I expected, 
and the next morning the hotel was cleared ; several hun- 
dred men leaving for parts unknown. So great was the 
exodus, that the house was on the eve of closing, as I 
learned, for the want of guests, and on account of the 
threatened war. 

On the night named by Senator Wilson, Lane's com- 
mand was ordered to join mine, and march to the Navy 
Yard, below Washington, to assist in its defense against a 
rumored attack from Virginia. * When the two commands 
met, Lane desired the joint command, to which I objected, 
as my force was much larger than his ; and, referring it to 
the soldiers themselves, I was made the commander of 
the battalion, and so acted at the Navy Yard. The rebels, 
seeing determined men opposed to their military coup, de- 
serted the city ; and we held it without further incident, 
keeping out pickets at night, and guarding the President's 
house, f 

* SPECIAL ORDER. 

Head-quarters Department of Washington, 

Washington, D. C. April 24, 1861. 
Gentlemen: — The Secretary of War desires that the volunteers 
under General James H. Lane and Major C. M. Clay should take 
post at the United States Navy Yard for its protection. I am there- 
fore directed by Colonel Smith, commanding, to request that you 
will report with your respective commands to the commandant of 
the Navy Yard, for this service, by 9 o'clock to-night, to remain on 
duty till daylight. You will report to the commandant of the Navy 
Yard, for the same service, on each succeeding night for the periods 
that your respective commands may have been enrolled. 
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Thomas Talbot, 

Assistant Adjutant- General. 
To Gen. J. H. Lane, and 

Maj. C. M. Clay, Washington. 

t All the time, from 1861 to 1876, I had believed that General 
Lee was present at one of the calls I made on General Scott, and 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 263 

Mr. Seward, who had no intercourse with me since my 
arrival in Washington, sent for me, and desired that I 
should take my volunteer force and reconnoiter in the 
direction of Baltimore, to the extent, at least, of the rail- 
road that was left, as we could get no information of the 
rebel movements in that direction. As I knew the Balti- 
moreans had artillery, I told him, if General Scott would 
give me a battery, and force to work it, I would take 
command with my men, and see the end of the railroad 
at least. I was not in a very good humor with him, and 
spoke in rather a surly manner, whilst not refusing to act. 
I heard no more of it. I have no data by me to cor- 
rect errors of memory, but my impression is that the first 
troops that came to our relief were the New York regi- 
ment, and then the Massachusetts regiment, and the Penn- 
sylvania regiment last ; but of this I am not sure. When 
they arrived, being of no longer use in Washington, I 
yielded up my command. Lincoln issued an order thank- 
that he introduced him to me ; and I have so stated in speech and 
writing. But as there is a question of doubt about his being in 
Washington at that time, and I can not be sure of my first im- 
pression, I desire now to so state the facts. It is not probable 
that General Lee would make a very distinct impression upon my 
memory, as he was not then distinguished. I wrote, a few years 
ago, to I. Stoddard Johnson, asking whether General Lee was, at 
the time named, on General Scott's staff, and he said not; but still 
he may have been in Washington. The facts, no doubt, can be 
easily established, if thought of any importance. Several of Scott's 
immediate command, Colonel McGruder being one, then went over 
to the Confederates. 

Before leaving Washington, I took the liberty to give General 
Scott my "views about the conduct of the war; that our armies 
should be advanced by sea and river routes, as we had supremacy 
there, and thus shorten our lines of supply of food, and men, and 
material of war. 

Miss Anne Ella Carroll indicated the exact route in the West 
which led to victory, But she never was rewarded for her emi- 
nent services by the Government! — C. 1885. 



264 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

ing me for my services ; and presented me with a Colt's 
revolver, as a testimony of his regard. This pistol I yet 
hold as an heir-loom in my family, together with the ele- 
gant sword presented to me by the citizens of Kentucky, 
after my return from Mexico, as stated in the following 
letter: 

Written for the Shelby (Ky.) News. 
HONOR TO THE BRAVE. 

The citizens of Madison and Fayette Counties have "caused to 
be made," and presented to Captain Cassius M. Clay, an elegant 
sword, "as a token of their sincere regard and admiration." The 
committee charged with the duty of presentation, say, in their com- 
munication to Captain Clay: 

' ' Your fellow-citizens, who observed you giving up the comforts 
of a pleasant home, and encountering the dangers incident to a cam- 
paign in Mexico, conceive that in your short service, especially after 
the capitulation at Encarnacion, when one of the prisoners escaped 
from the Mexican guard, you displayed courage and self-possession in 
the midst of sudden and appalling danger, which illustrate the highest 
qualities of the officer and the soldier. Disarmed, as you were, your 
firmness and sagacity prevented the sacrifice of the gallant but unfor- 
tunate little band. Such qualities on a broader field might have 
rendered you more conspicuous before the nation ; but would pre- 
sent no tnter test of the intrinsic merit of the soldier." 

The committee wished to present the sword publicly; but the 
Captain declined it, for reasons satisfactory to himself. They then 
addressed a note to Captain Clay, to know at what time it would be 
convenient for him to receive the sword at his own residence ; to 
which note he replied that he would be pleased to see the com- 
mittee, and such other friends as might be inclined to be present, 
on Friday evening, November 10th. Accordingly, on that evening, 
the committee, in company with a number of other gentlemen, re- 
paired to Captain Clay's residence in the country, and, finding him 
at home, were cordially received. Dr. A. J. Burnam, one of the 
committee, after addressing a few handsome and appropriate re- 
marks, referring to the correspondence touching the occasion, handed 
the elegant sword to Captain Clay. It was received with modest 
simplicity by the Captain, who declared that he felt his poor services 
had not merited such a compliment, and one which was rarely tend- 
ered for any service except distinguished conduct on the battle-field. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 265 

remarking that he would not have accepted the sword did he not 
feel that his conduct on the occasion especially alluded to was now 
fully vindicated from the malign aspersions of some of those who 
were associated with him. The company were then invited to par- 
take of a most superb and tasty collation prepared with exquisite 
taste by Mrs. Clay. After enjoying it abundantly, with fine cheer, 
the company dispersed. 

His fellow-citizens have reflected honor upon themselves by this 
act of simple justice to a brave and gallant man, who, in the hour 
of peril, when all hearts were sick at the prospect of a violent death, 
stood up in the might of his greatness, and delivered them. It was 
a display of the loftiest heroism, and challenges the admiration of 
the world. May he long live to enjoy the gratitude of his generous 
friends ; and may that sword never be unsheathed except in a cause 
where virtue weaves the wreath for the brow of the living, and hal- 
lows the grave of the dead. B. 

This was but one of the many testimonials from public 
bodies to my gallantry. The Legislature of Kentucky, 
March i, 1848, passed a complimentary resolution for my 
defense of Encarnacion (see Collin's History of Kentucky, 
Vol. I., p. 56). 

For the Observer and Reporter. 
THE LOUISVILLE AND FAYETTE, KENTUCKY, LEGIONS. 

At a meeting of the officers composing the Louisville Legion, 
held at the Washington Hall, on Saturday evening, the 18th inst, 
on motion of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Metcalfe, the following 
preamble and resolutions were adopted: 

Whereas, we have understood that some attempt has been 
made to alter the arrangements entered into at Camp Madison, 
in July, 1843, relative to the encampment to be held near Ver- 
sailles in July next (1845), and to supersede Col. Cassius M. Clay 
in the command — in consequence of opinions held by him on 
certain subjects — therefore, be it 

Resolved, by the officers of the Louisville Legion, that, with- 
out concurring in, or endorsing, the correctness of the views of 
Col. Clay on the subject referred to, we, as a body, protest, as 
far as we have the right, against any alteration being made in 
the general arrangements as understood at the last encampment. 

Resolved, That in C. M. Clay we recognize a gentleman, whose 



266 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

private worth, dignity of manners, and military abilities guarantee 
to us that harmony so necessary to general enjoyment among so 
large a body of men as will be drawn together from all parts of 
the State and surrounding States. 

Resolved, That Col. Joseph Metcalfe be a committee to for- 
ward a copy of these resolutions to Col. C. M. Clay, and to those 
citizens of Woodford who are dissatisfied. 

Signed by the following officers: 

Joseph Metcalfe, Lieut. Col. Louisville Legion. 

John G. Stein, Major Louisville Legion. 

Thos. L. Caldwell, Surgeon Louisville Legion. 

L. Thompson, Lieutenant Louisville Guards. 

Jas. Peterson, " " " 

H. M. McGhee, Lieutenant Washington Blues. 

F. Watson, " " " 

H. Tyler, Capt. Kentucky Riflemen. 

Geo. W. Anderson, ist Lieut. Kentucky Riflemen, 

J. Boecking, Capt. National Guards. 

F. Kern, Capt. German National Guards. 

P. Ramb, ist Lieut. German National Guards. 

C. C. Spencer, Capt. Boone Riflemen. 

Gentlemen : — I have received the preamble and resolutions 
passed by you on the 1 8th instant. Those only who have been 
placed in similar circumstances can appreciate your magnanimity, 
and the gratitude which I shall ever owe you. 

You will learn from the press that resolutions simultaneous 
with, and similar to yours, were passed by the Fayette Legion, 
where you will also see the course which I have thought it my 
duty to pursue, which I trust will meet your entire approbation. 

Gentlemen, I am forced to attribute the very flattering terms 
in which you allude to myself more to the generous overflowings 
of Kentucky hearts, than to any merit of my own; yet I can not 
refrain from here taking occasion to say, that I claim to be be- 
hind no man, or set of men, in my devotion to the best interests 
of my native State ; and that I do not fear that, with any great 
portion of my countrymen, political difference of opinion will de- 
generate into personal persecution. But, should it turn out other- 
wise, as the commission I bear constrains me at all times to fall, 
if necessary, in my country's defense ; so in a civil capacity I trust 
the equally high duties which I owe her shall never be foregone 
out of any apprehensions of insult or prostrated popularity. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 267 

Receive my thanks, once more, for your generous sympathy, 

and believe me ever your friend and obedient servant, 

C. M. Clay. 
Col. Joseph Metcalfe, 

And the officers of the Louisville Legion. 

For the Louisville Courier. 
TO THE PUBLIC. 

Although the calumnies of Borland and others have met with 
very general indignation and contempt from all just men, I trust 
those who take an interest in this prolonged controversy will par- 
don me this last intrusion upon their time and patience. 

When I found that there was to be a systematic, savage, and 
partisan war upon me, because I ventured to exercise the humblest 
as well as the highest rights of a freemen — an honorable and 
searching canvass of public men and measures — I wrote to a friend 
of all the parties concerned in the story, which was to form the 
nucleus of assault, asking him to get a frank statement of the 
Mexican commander of my bearing on the 24th day of January, 
1847. The following testimony from a magnanimous enemy may, 
perhaps, be worth more than the unanimous and zealous ' ' back- 
ing" of all the men of the Encarnacion imprisonment, whose per- 
sonal regard for me might be supposed to blind their judgment 
and impair their impartiality. 

C. M. Clay. 
Madison County, Ky. , September' '5, 1848. 

JOSE MARIA ZAMBONINO. 

(Copy from the original in my possession.) 

Jose Ma. Zambonino Coronel del Ejercito Mexicano — Certifico: 
que el sehor Capitan Clay fue uno de los prisioneros tornado en la 
Haciende de la Encarnagion, el dia 23 de Enero de 1847, Y q ue 
el dia 24 del espresado mes fuerou entregados a mi para condu- 
cirlos a San Luis: en este mismo dia trataron de hacer una fuga 
quitandome las annas, cuyo projecto no tubo efecto por que logro 
el que subscribe contenerlo con las armas, y solo tubo por objeto 
la fuga de Henry, dejando comprometidos a todos sus companeros, 
quienes por una pura casualidad no fueron fusilados : en dicho dis 
el Capitan Clay semantuvo con toda la serenida propia de su car- 
acter, sin dar muestra de cobardia apesar del riesgo que corrian el, 
y sus companeros, sin que este implorara ninguna gracia ni espuirera 
cosa alguna en su favor para salvar su vida: pues solo pedia indul- 



268 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

gencia para sus companeros: por lo tanto si alguna persona le su- 
pone a dicho Clay aber echo o dicho algo mas sobre el particular 
asequro bajo mi firma que es falso, y que de este echo solo el que 
subscribe puede asequrar la verdad de este asnuto: en obsequio de 
la justicia, paraque courte y a pedimento del interesado doy el 
presente. 

Jose Ma. Zambonino. 
En Mexico, a \o dc Agosto dc 1848. 



Translation of the foregoing by a British subject in tJie City of Mexico. 

Jose Maria Zambonino, Colonel of the Mexican army — I do 
hereby certify, that Captain Clay was one of the prisoners taken 
in the hacienda de la Encarnagion on the 23d of January, 1847, 
and further that on the 24th of said month, he, among other 
prisoners, was delivered over to me to be carried to San Luis. 
On the said 24th, a plan was combined by said prisoners to effect 
their escape by disarming me and my men, but which plan was 
frustrated by my armed attitude, its only result being the escape 
of one of them named Henry, who by so doing left his companions 
compromised so much that it is owing to mere casualty that they 
were not all shot. On that day Captain Clay behaved himself with 
that coolness and serenity peculiar to his character, giving no signs 
of fear, notwithstanding the risk both he and his companions were 
running ; nor did he implore for himself either grace or mercy, whilst in 
favor of his companions he claimed (pedia) indulgence. Therefore, if 
any person or persons have supposed or inferred that the conduct 
of said Captain Clay has been different in word or deed (aber echo o 
dicho) on said occasion, I do hereby declare on my word and honor 
that such suppositions or inferences are false, as nobody else but 
myself can vouch for the truth of this affair. 

In obedience to the demands of justice, and that it may stand 
in proof, I give this certificate, at the request of the interested party. 

Jose Maria Zambonino. 
City of Mexico, 1st of August, 1848. 

About this time the non-slaveholders of Madison Co., 
Kentucky, and the mountain counties about Berea, pre- 
sented me, through Hamilton Rawlins, Dr. Curtis Knight, 
and others, an elegant black-hickory cane, cut from those 
hills. It had thirteen knots, with gold caps, inscribed with 
the initials of the original thirteen States of the Revolution 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 269 

of 1776; and on the gold head-piece were inscribed "The 
Poor Man's Friend," and sentiments commemorative of my 
saving the men at Salao, in Mexico, on the 24th day of Jan- 
uary, 1847. • • I* was tri e politicians who slaughtered 
me — not the people. 

The successful defense of Washington* won me golden 
opinions every-where. There never were so many distin- 

* Head-quarters C. M. Clay's Washington Guards. 

Washington, April 25, 1861. 
This is to certify that Professor Amasa McCoy, Secretary of the 
Battalion, of Albany, State of New York, was duly enrolled a mem- 
ber of Cassius M. Clay's Battalion of Washington Guards, and served 
faithfully, day and night, during the perilous times, when the de- 
struction of the capital of our country was threatened by the traitor- 
ous designs of the so-called Southern Confederacy. 

Cassius M. Clay, 
Major Commanding. 
F. S. Littlejohn, Adjutant. 

THANKS OF THE GOVERNMENT TO C. M. CLAY'S BATTALION. 

War Department, May 2, 1861. 
Major Cassius M. Clay — 

Sir: — I beg to extend you, and through you to the men under 
your command, the assurance of my high appreciation of the very 
prompt and patriotic manner in which your Battalion was organized 
for the defense of the capital, and the very efficient services ren- 
dered by it. Very respectfully, Simon Cameron, 

Secretary of War. 

I cheerfully concur in the foregoing testimonial given by the 
Hon. Secretary of War. A. Lincoln, 

President of the United States. 
Executive Mansion, May 2, 1861. 

Telegraphic Dispatch to Associated Press. 
CASSIUS M. CLAY'S WASHINGTON GUARD CELEBRATION. 

Washington, September 13, 1861. 
Cassius M. Clay's Washington Guards, who rendered such effi- 
cient service in the defense of the capital in the dark days in April, 
held a meeting to-night, at their head-quarters, and unanimously re- 



27O MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

guished men in one small body of troops before — ex-con- 
gressmen, governors of States, and other men of mark, 
who happened to be in Washington, all rallied to my ban- 
ner. The result was, that all eyes were turned upon me, 
as a commander of truest patriotism, if not of military 
education. So, when there was so much treason in high 
places, this was a prime quality. The Union Safety Corn- 
solved to celebrate the 17th of September, the Anniversary of the 
Adoption of the Constitution of the United States, and the delivery 
of Washington's Farewell Address. Professor Amasa McCoy, Sec- 
retary of the Clay Guards, was invited to deliver the oration. Pro- 
fessor McCoy accepted the invitation, and announced that his theme 
would be ' ' The London Times on the Rebellion, and the war against 
the National Constitution." The President of the United States, the 
Secretary of State, and two or three hundred of the most distin- 
guished civil and military characters, now at the national capital, 
are to be specially invited to attend. 

Telegraphic Dispatch to Associated Press. 

Washington, September 25, 1861. 
The National Fast Day will be generally observed here. Pro- 
fessor McCoy will repeat, in the afternoon, in the hall of the 
Representatives, his oration, which was delivered on last Tuesday, 
commemorative of the Seventy-Fourth Anniversary of the Adop- 
tion of the Constitution. 

NATIONAL FAST-DAY ORATION IN THE NATIONAL CAPITOL. 

Oration delivered before the President of the United States, Secretary of State, Secretary 
of Treasury, etc., by Professor Amasa McCoy, of Washington, D. C, Secre- 
tary of Cassitis M. Clay's Washington Guards, Professor of Rhetoric 
and Oratory in the Ballston and Albany Law Schools. 

Subject: — "The London Times on the Rebellion, and the War against the National 

Constitution." 



REQUESTS OF THE AUDIENCE IN WASHINGTON. 

Washington, National Fast Day, September 26, 1861. 
Whereas, in compliance with an invitation by Cassius M. Clay's 
Battalion of Washington Guards, and General James H. Lane's 
Frontier Guards, Professor Amasa McCoy (member and Secretary 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 27 I 

mittee of New York recommended me as a Major-General ; 
and this Charles Sumner urged with great persistence, say- 
ing Lincoln would certainly appoint me. After mature de- 
liberation, I declined the position. If I had been made a 

of the the former battalion), delivered an oration at the National 
Capitol, on the 17th instant, commemorative of the Seventy-Fourth 
Anniversary of the Adoption of the Constitution, and the Sixty- 
Fifth Anniversary of the delivery of Washington's Farewell Ad- 
dress; and 

Whereas, the audience, on that occasion, feeling that it would 
be a great public gratification and benefit, requested that said ora- 
tion be repeated; and 

Whereas, in compliance with that request, it has been repeated, 
with great applause and effect, on this National Fast Day, in the 
Hall of the House of Representatives, in the Capitol, in the pres- 
ence of the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, 
the Secretary of the Treasury, and a great audience of citizens and 
soldiers ; and 

Whereas, it is the desire of hundreds, who have twice heard it 
at the Capital, that this eloquent and powerful appeal, in behalf of 
the War and the Constitution, should be heard by the masses of 
their fellow-citizens in all of the loyal States of the Union ; and 

Whereas the present formidable combinations of the "internal 
and external enemies" of the Republic demand that the full strength 
of the patriotism of all its loyal citizens, in the way of men and 
money, should be rallied in support of the Army and the Navy of 
its Government; therefore, 

Resolved, That the Orator of the Day is hereby solicited to de- 
liver this noble and inspiring appeal to American patriotism at as 
many points in the Nation as he conveniently can ; and all loyal 
citizens, committees, and associations are respectfully requested to 
co-operate in procuring its delivery in their respective localities. 

Peter G. Washington, 

Ex-Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Chairman, 
S. C. POMEROY, 
United States Senator from Kansas, 

George W. Wright, 

Ex-Member of Congress from California, 

Jesse C Dickey, 

Ex-Member of Congress from Pennsylvania, 

Committee. 



272 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Major-General in the army, then I should have ranked both 
Generals Worth and Wool, who were next in command to 
General Scott. I had no military education, and knew but 
little of fortification and artillery service. These defects 
could have been remedied by efficient staff officers ; but, 
by ranking these regular officers, I knew by my experience 
in Mexico, when the two forces came together — the regu- 
lar and the volunteer armies — that great and perhaps fatal 
dissatisfaction might be the result ; and I urged this view 
on Sumner. But he had great distrust of West Point and 
the regular army. 

I told Sumner that he might say to Lincoln, that I did 
not think it advisable for me to accept the great honor 
proffered me ; but that, if it turned out that I was abso- 
lutely needed to give confidence to the Union army, 
which would of course consist mostly of volunteers, he 
might recall me from Russia, and I would do my best to 
serve the country at home. Sumner was greatly disap- 
pointed, and never showed any friendship towards me after- 
ward. 

These facts become an important part of my personal 
history, and will be referred to again in the course of these 
memoirs. 

I continued to have the confidence of Mr. Lincoln. 
The formal attempt of the rebels to negotiate had been 
rejected by the Government; and, therefore, as it was the 
only means of adjustment left, when it was found that I 
was holding an honorable position, and had the confidence 

of the President, a gentleman of culture, * professing to 

• 

* Washington, D. C. , April 20, 1861. 
Memoranda: — The undersigned, on all the responsibilities of 
a Kentuckian, a patriot, and a man, desiring the perpetuation of 
the Union and the liberties of the people, opposed always to ag- 
gressive wars, believing that civilization can not be advanced by 
arms — but only preexisting ideas can be so fixed — in favor of 
peaceful emancipation by the will of the sovereignties, and against 
servile war and insurrection, asserts, upon his own responsibility, 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 273 

come on the part of the leaders of Virginia, came to me, 
and presented a series of propositions, which he avowed 
would prevent hostilities between the Union and Virginia. 
Now I knew that the South was better prepared than the 
North for immediate war; and therefore I thought it good 
policy to gain time in all honorable ways. Having carried 
these propositions to Mr. Lincoln, I recommended that 
we should assent to them ; for, if the rebels kept the peace, 
we had a right to recapture all our national forts, and 
maintain other rights which even Buchanan had not 
yielded. So that we could, without a violation of these 



the policy of the Republican Administration, peace, if consistent 
with honor. 

1. He asserts the avowals of President Lincoln in his inaugural 
address, and his late proclamation to make war upon no State, 
much less upon Virginia, or the border States, whose Union men 
he would conciliate and save as friends. For this reason he re- 
tires from Harper's Ferry, as he did from Fort Sumpter, acting 
clearly on the defensive, that he might stand before mankind guilt- 
less of this great fraternal suicide! For the same reasons he re- 
fuses to avenge the blood of American citizens shed in Baltimore, 
in the peaceful passage to the seat of common government. 

2. But the President will not, when pressed to the wall, fail 
to assert, to his full ability, the power and safety of the National 
Government, unless the people, whose servant he is, shall other- 
wise decree. 

3. Any attack on the national forces, or property in the Dis- 
trict of Columbia, will be regarded as a declaration of war, and a 
fatal blow to all hopes of peace. 

4. He will not deceive Maryland or Virginia, or any State, by 
false professions; he will continue to strengthen his position in this 
place of national exclusive jurisdiction at all hazards, and by all the 
defensive means in his power; and this he feels abundantly able to do. 

5. Virginia and Maryland may keep the peace, and give time 
for the passions of men to cool, by avoiding invasion of the Dis- 
trict, or obstructing our movements. Virginia must confine herself 
to her own soil. 

C. M. Clay. 

Copy: attest James Milward. 
Vol. I. — 18 



274 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

agreements, commence, or rather renew, the war when- 
ever we were prepared. 

Lincoln agreed with me, and told me to consult with 
such men as I thought worthy of the direction of affairs, 
and I did so; going to Senator Benj. F. Wade of Ohio, 
who was then in Washington, among others. I found 
Wade, after much difficulty, and showed him my memo- 
randa, to which he agreed at once. And so this emis- 
sary, whether authorized or not, carried back our assent, 
written and signed by me, to the terms he had proposed. 

Avenue House, April 23, 1861. 
Hon. C. M. Clay — 

Dear Sir : — I shall go to Alexandria this morning, and will 
not know whether it is best for me to go to Richmond till I go 
there. I feel much refreshed this morning from a few hours' sleep, 
and hope now to be able to work for the cause of my great but 
bleeding country. I may find Mason at Alexandria, or some other 
person with whom to confer. I shall appeal for peace in the name 
of the Union men of the South ; and I regret that the Union men 
in that section do not know that they are represented at this capital. 
I am fully satisfied that it is not your wish, nor that of the Ad- 
ministration, to inaugurate civil war. If you fight in the defensive, 
every right-minded man in the nation will sympathize with you in 
your efforts to avoid a collision. I am here not as a partisan. I 
came here in the name of the suffering Union men of the South. 
We arc for our country, and our whole country. We do not wish to 
be forced to take a position that would sacrifice us. I know no 
flag but that of my fathers, and wherever that goes I will go. But 
while I am for that flag, and feel that it has received many indigni- 
ties, which it would seem necessary to avenge, and while I desire 
to see the leaders in this unnatural war punished, yet the pro-Union 
men, who have never taken any part in this struggle, may be com- 
pelled to take a position in antagonism to the laws of this country. 
We are not willing to do so, if we can avoid it. Such a war as this 
will be will shock humanity. We will have to negotiate at some 
time — the war can not last always. Let negotiation commence 
now. The Government is powerful, and can afford to be generous. 

I am, sir, respectfully yours, etc., in the bonds of Union, 

W. R. Henley. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 275 

I returned from Europe in 1869; and, entering into the 
Greeley campaign in Ohio, I spoke at Xenia in 1872. 
Benj. F. Wade being sent for to answer me, he there 
uttered a calumny. He said I came to him, in 1861, and 
asked him to agree to the "Crittenden Compromise," when 
no man in America would have been before me in reject- 
ing such, toleration of slavery, and which would have made 
my whole life-work a miserable failure and farce. Such 
are the infamies of party servitude in America. 

Scraps of History — An Issue of Veracity between Benjamin F. Wade 

and Cassius M. Clay. 

To the Editor of the Richmond (JSy.) Register — 

On my return home from Indiana, I saw to-day, for the first 
time, in the Cincinnati Commercial of September 27, ult. , Benj. F. 
Wade's speech at Xenia, Ohio, in which I find the following clauses 
in reference to what are known as the Crittenden Resolutions: 

There were all the leading men of the Secession Party there : Mr. Davis, Mr. 

Toombs, Mr. Mason, Mr. Slidell, Mr. Hunter, and some others After 

we adjourned that night — after that exhibition — I went to bed, not in very good 
spirits. In the night Mr. Clay — -Cassius M. Clay — appeared to me. He came up 
in my room late in the night, after I was in bed. He said he had come on very 
important business. "Well," said I, "what is it?" "I have been trying to find 
you all day, to strengthen some of our weak backs," said he; "it won't do. I tell 
you the pressure is too great. We have got to vote for these resolutions. It must 
be done, and you must help us do it." Says I: "I will do no such thing." [Good.] 
"I am astonished. Is this Cassius M. Clay, or is it a ghost?" [Applause and 
laughter.] "I said that to him. 'Why,' says I, 'you used to be reputed a brave 
man, and I have been hunting you all day, to help strengthen me and my weak 
brethren.'" He replied: "Hear me through. I have the names of fourteen Sena- 
tors on this paper that I hold in my hand, and they have all agreed that if you 
will vote for these resolutions they will." "Well," said I, "Mr. Clay, then you 
have furnished me with fourteen additional reasons why I will never vote for them." 
[Applause.] Said I: "I will see the capital burned before I will commit the peo- 
ple of the North to the humiliation of these infernal resolutions." And then Mr. 
Clay went off; and I will confess that I have not since had the respect for him 
that I had previously. I could not have, because it altered my whole opinion of 
the man. I thought he was a hero that would stand up in the darkest hour, pistol 
in hand, if necessary; and I found him sneaking into my chamber there in order 
to persuade me to become a traitor to my constituents. 

I lately spoke in Xenia, where I quoted extracts from Mr. 
Wade's letter to me on the Cuban question, which letter I give 
from the original in my possession : 



276 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Jefferson, February 3, 1870. 
Gentlemen: — I have received your letter of the 28th ult., asking me to ac- 
cept the position of Vice-President for the State of Ohio of the "Cuban Charitable 
Aid Society." I accept the position with pleasure, and will do what I can to for- 
ward the good work. I am astonished at the apparent indifference of our great 
Republican Party to the fate of the people of Cuba. Are they, indeed, weary in 
well-doing, or do they still favor that timorous, halting, hesitating policy, which 
added more than half to the blood and treasure in conquering our rebellion, and 
in giving liberty to our slaves ? One brave word from our Administration is all 
sufficient to end the strife, and give peace, liberty, and justice to the people of 
that island. Shall that word be spoken? We shall be dishonored as a nation if it 
is not. But, whether spoken or not, Cuba must and shall be free. 

Yours, with respect, B. F. Wade. 

Hon. C. M. Clay, etc. 

P. S. — I have read with great satisfaction the abstract of your speech, and 
indorse and approve every word of it. B. F. W. 

My speech denounced the cowardly policy of the immortal 
Fish. And now Mr. Wade is found, since Grant sent him to San 
Domingo, dumb as an oyster about Cuba, and calumniating all 
those who stand to his word of revolt from the President and party, 
who have not yet spoken that "one brave word! " 

Mr. Wade's utterances about me are absolutely false in the sum 
and the detail. I never went, in 1861, to Washington till after the 
adjournment of Congress. (See telegram and letter on page 278.) 
I saw Jeff. Davis in the Mexican War, and never since. I do not 
remember to have ever seen Mason, Slidell, etc.; they had all left 
Washington before I got there. I never was for Crittenden's or 
any other compromise, short of the abolition of slavery, in my life ; 
and Crittenden's Compromise was voted down by 118 to 80, on the 
27th of February, 1 861 ! I never was in confidence, or ever met 
in council, with the compromisers, in Washington, or elsewhere, at 
any time. I never had on my list the names of fourteen Senators, 
or any other number, in such, or any other case. I never asked 
Mr. Wade to compromise the slavery or any other question ; and 
all his allegations of fact and conversation are absolute falsehoods. 
When the South threatened war, I, from the balcony at Willard's, 
spoke, in 1861, in favor of the liberation of all the blacks, and of 
their being made soldiers. When I returned from Russia, in 1862, 
I again took the same ground; and could not get my speeches pub- 
lished in any of the Republican journals for money, and was forced 
to published them in pamphlet form. 

After hostilities were threatened, — and whilst I and Senator 
Lane, of Kansas, were commanding the volunteer forces at Wash- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 277 

ington, in defense of the President, regular army, an such Senators 
as Wade (who slept in bed, instead of coming, like many Senators, 
Ex-Governors, and Congressmen, to our arsenal and head-quarters, 
in Willard's Theater,) — I was much in the confidence of A. Lin- 
coln ; and, being virtually in command of the city, Will. R. Henley, a 
Union man, came to me on a mission, which his letter (on page 274) 
will best explain. Washington was full of traitors, especially in the 
regular army, and we wanted time for reinforcements, and to allow 
the South to cool, and our Union friends at least to save them- 
selves. Our .ships were scuttled in the Potomac, and our railroads 
and telegraph lines with the North were cut. Henley appeared in 
good time. I presented his proposal to Lincoln, and asked him to 
allow me to answer it; to which he agreed, requesting me to show 
it to some of the most prominent Republicans then in Washington. 
Among others, I sought B. F. Wade. It was night; he was not 
in his usual quarters, but stored away with some friend, evidently 
so much frightened as to take any one for "a ghost." I showed 
him the Henley memoranda, and asked his advice ; and he fully 
indorsed them. Wade now stands convicted of wilful calumny, or 
base cowardice, or both. He evidently confounds this interview 
with the Crittenden Compromise, which dates show to be impos- 
sible. Henley went on his mission. Northern troops arrived ; the 
Capital was saved. 

If Mr. Henley yet lives he will bear witness to the truth of 
all this. I acted, not on my own responsibility, but by Mr. Lin- 
coln's instructions in every particular; drawing up the memoran- 
dum, and he indorsing it verbally, thus avoiding any responsi- 
bility on his part as President, yet giving sufficient pledge to 
Henley of our intended fidelity. So we stood faithful to the truce 
till the rebels violated it. Thus, one after another, my calumnia- 
tors are put to shame, and history stands vindicated ; how much 
to my honor, I leave others to avow. 

C. M. Clay. 
White Hall, Ky., October 17, 1872. 

I spoke in Washington in favor of war (see speech, 
January 26, 1861), and immediately returned home, where 
the following telegrams and letters reached me. I spoke, 
after the adjournment of Congress, in the same tone, in 
1 86 1. All this, published in Wade's lifetime, has never 
been denied: 



278 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Western Union Telegraphic Company, to Madison C. Johnson for C. 

M. Clay: 

[Received at Lexington March 27, 1S61 .] 

By telegraph from Washington, March 26, 1861 : It is important 
that Schurz should have a place in Europe. I advise you to take 
Russia instead of Spain. You will make immense capital by it. 

M. Blair. 

Washington, D. C, March 26, 1861. 
Hon. C. M. Clay — 

Dear Clay : — It seems that Seward has contrived to fill every 
first-class mission in Europe, which Carl Schurz could accept, with- 
out providing for that gentleman ; and now it is expected that he 
is to accept some place of inferior grade, or be left out in the 
cold altogether. In this condition of affairs, the President author- 
ized the Judge to telegraph you, to know whether you would 
take the Russian mission, which I believe is $17,000 per annum, 
and thus open the Spanish mission to Schurz. I think if you 
would do this, it would be a great thing for you, and would give 
you great hold on the Germans, and the radical men of the party, 
who feel that this embarrassment is a contrivance of Seward's, 
from which we would be relieved by your magnanimity. I trust 
you will see this in the light in which it appears to all your 
friends here, and do yourself a credit and honor in the act, and 
at the same time you will have the most splendid court in Europe. 
Schurz will not be received in that court, on account of his being 
a political refugee, and this is the only reason why it is not ten- 
dered him. F. P. Blair. 

The Henley correspondence and my speeches (to be 
found in Vol. II. of this work,) at Washington, also the 
following, are all in proof that I was not in Washington 
City in February, 1861, when the Crittenden Compromise 
Resolutions were discussed and voted upon in Congress : 

War Department, Washington, D. C. , April 22, 1861. 
Col. Cassius M. Clay — 

Dear Sir: — Your note of this morning is received. An order 
has been issued to the Ordnance Department to furnish you with 
arms as requested. Very respectfully, Simon Cameron, 

Secretary of War. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 279 

As usual, there were continual assaults by the Seward 
taction, and corrupt expectants of official favors, uoon me 
whilst in Kentucky quietly awaiting events. Many of 
these put me with the compromisers, to which I made no 
reply; as it was just as important for Jeff. Davis to de- 
fend himself against being a Disunionist, as for me to 
vindicate myself from such charges. I append a few lines 
from friends, which might be raised to a volume : 

New York Evening Post, 1 86 1. 

Cassius M. Clay is strongly urged for the War Department, and 
is a personal favorite of Mr. Lincoln. A delegation from New 
York was here lately bespeaking his appointment as one likely to 
gratify the friends of freedom every-where ; and to insure the effi- 
cient management of that highly important department. If he is 
not chosen, it will be solely from the circumstances over which Mr. 
Lincoln has no control, and for which he (Clay) is in no wise re- 
sponsible. 

New York World, 1861. 

CASSIUS M. CLAY. 
To the Editor of the World — 

That Mr. Lincoln will be able to satisfy every body by his 
cabinet appointments is not to be expected ; and it would seem 
quite within the province of wisdom for that same every body to 
defer worriment untill we all learn authoritatively who is to be, in 
fact, secretary of this, that, and the other. But, with your yester- 
day's leader for my text, I hazard the guess that Mr. Lincoln's 
appointment of Cassius M. Clay to the War Secretaryship would 
be indorsed by a louder popular voice than any other appointment 
the incoming President could make. Mr. Clay is not only fairly 
upon the Republican platform, but his Republicanism dates back 
further than that of any prominent member of the party. His name 
is, indeed, the very synonym of free soil, free speech, free men, 
and a free press. His life has exemplified, as that of no other man 
has, the principles which, of late years, have compelled the respect, 
and secured the concurrence, of all who love liberty in its largest 
sense. He is not an Abolitionist, although the scenes at Berea last 
spring indorse his claim to the title of defender of that faith. His 
course in Kentucky has been that of persistent, consistent opposi- 
tion to the enslavement of the North by the South. He has raised 



280 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

his warning voice, and his stalwart arm, against the slave oligarchy, 
whose encroachments steadily monopolized the control of every ave- 
nue of power in the Federal Government. As an Emancipationist, 
Mr. Clay desires, with a practical persistency, the removal of the 
curse of slavery, where votes can effect that removal. But those 
who know him are well aware that he equally longs for the free- 
dom of white men in the slave States to speak their sentiments 
without being banished, gagged, or murdered. 

A word as to his position in the party. Mr. Clay is flat- 
footedly and whole-heartedly upon the Republican platform. The 
great heart of the party pulsates in sympathy with him and his 
courageous course. The present status of the party owes much to 
his brave banner-bearing in a State, and under circumstances, un- 
favorable to the principles he has spent his life in practicing. This 
has been fully recognized by the Republicans in the ovations which 
have every-where accompanied his journeyings and addresses; in 
the enthusiasm enkindled whenever his name is referred to ; in 
the vote given him at Chicago for the nomination of Vice-President; 
and, lastly, in the fact itself that his name is now so constantly 
connected with the Secretaryship of War. This appointment would 
doubtless have been his had Fremont carried the canvass in 1856. 
What might have been throught proper in the infancy of the party, 
certainly can not now be deemed improper — the party having risen 
in its strength and asserted its manhood and maturity. 

When it is remembered that the name of Cassius M. Clay was 
received, invariably, at Chicago, in that representative convention, 
with acclamations and enthusiasm equalled only by the furor in 
favor of Lincoln and Seward, and that his vote for the Vice- 
Presidency placed him just where the Philadelphia Convention of 
.1856 placed Mr. Lincoln, it seems to some of us a little too late 
to find fault with Mr. Clay's Republicanism, or to attempt to read 
him out of the party. F. W. B. 

From the New York Evening Post. 
CASSIUS M. CLAY AS SECRETARY OF WAR. 

The following resolutions were unanimously adopted at a recent 
meeting of the board of control of the New- York Young Men's 
Republican Union: 

Resolved, That we disclaim for ourselves and for the Repub- 
licans of New York all thoughts of compromise in the face of 
resisting danger and angry threats — believing that a government 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 28 1 

temporarily sustained by such means must be degraded in the 
estimation of the world, and remain, during its further uncertain 
term of continuance, a scorn and a by-word among men. 

Resolved, That we indorse in advance any action proposed, by 
the incoming administration which shall present a firm, unyielding 
front of opposition to traitors, and which shall indicate a policy 
devoted solely to the enforcement of the laws, the upholding of 
the Constitution, and the perpetuity of the Union. 

Resolved, That the preservation of the Union being the press- 
ing exigency of the hour, we earnestly recommend, with that 
view, the appointment, as Secretary of War under the President 
elect, of Hon. Cassius M. Clay, of Kentucky, whose character 
and past career give abundant warrant that, by his wise counsels 
and his well-tested energy, the new administration will be strength- 
ened in the discharge of duty, the Union preserved, rebellion 
checked, and treason punished. 

From the Erie (Pa.) Gazette. 
CASSIUS M. CLAY. 

We see by an exchange that Mr. Lincoln has Mr. Clay's name 
under favorable consideration in connection with his constitutional 
advisers. This is as it should be. A man of Mr. Clay's power 
and ability, a man who rendered such eloquent and effective service 
during the late victorious contest, should not be left out in the cold 
by the incoming administration. 

If an administration would succeed, it must call around it its 
representative men. Mr. Clay is such. He is, and has been, a 
Republican, when our principles were not only unpopular, but where 
it was not safe to avow, or even eitiertain them. He has for twenty 
years defended our principles, and the rights of a down-trodden 
humanity, with violence, mobs, and assassination staring him in the 
face. He long since enlisted with our principles in one hand, and 
his life in the other; the former have been trampled upon, the 
latter more than once has been in jeopardy. His press was mob- 
bed, and his property destroyed, although defended by him with a 
heroism not excelled by any in the annals of history. 

His loyalty to our principles, and the enunciation of his views, 
compelled him to shake hands and part company with kindred and 
neighbors; his life since that time in "Kentucky has been but little 
better than that of an outcast in society, his friendships and social 
relations all sundered; his fate, to that political preferment in the 



282 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES. 

land of his nativity, and which his talent so eminently fitted him 
for, forever sealed ; and now, when an administration has it in its 
power to gladden and cheer the hearts of a family circle long since 
made desolate by a worse than despotic proscription, for devotion 
to principle, by conferring power and position, and thus honoring 
the hero, to whom honor is due, and clothing him with the pano- 
ply of Government, which he has shed his blood even to protect, 
defend, and build up, is it not a duty to do it? Kentucky, slave- 
holding Kentucky, whose soil has been enriched by Clay's blood, 
might answer no ; but a free North, a grateful nation, with one 
accord, say yes. 

Nothing short of a recognition such as this will give to Mr. 
Clay that security which he and his household gods have been 
denied for long, long years; and save him from the mortification 
and humiliation which would follow the exultation of his enemies 
not only at home, but North and South. 

The same paper, the following week. 

Our article last week on Cassius M. Clay meets the cordial 
indorsement of the press of this portion of the State. It expresses 
the sentiments of the people with regard to this tried advocate of 
Republicanism. 

Among the young Republicans of New York, who ever 
most honored and defended me, I may name Cephas Brai- 
nerd, G. P. Edgar, D. H. Gildersleeve, Wm. M. Franklin, 
Frank W. Ballard, R. C. McCormick, Dexter A. Hawkins, 
C. C. Nott, Charles H. Cooper, C. T. Rodgers, Erasmus 
Sterling, Benj. F. Mannierre, Hiram Barney, Mark Hoyt, 
and William Ross Wallace. 



CHAPTER XV. 



Leaving Washington; An Adventure. — At Sea. — Chari.es Francis Adams. — 
British Parliament. — Lord Brougham. — Lord Palmerston. — Mrs. Stowe 
at Stafford House. — My "'Times' Letter." — J. Lathrop Motley. — Let- 
ter of John Bright. — Public Breakfast given me in Paris. — Reception by 
the Czar.— The Russian Court. — L. Q. C. Lamar.— Diplomacy as a Pro- 
fession. — Her Imperial Majesty, the Empress. — Note from the Princess 
Radziwill. 



THE road to Philadelphia not being yet practical, and 
the railroad to Baltimore being broken up, I packed 
my trunks, to be sent by the usual route as soon as 
possible, and set out by rail, as far as it went, for An- 
napolis, Maryland. An editor of Cleveland, Ohio, (E. W. 
Cowles, I think,) anxious to get out of Washington, ac- 
companied me. 

After walking a long time, we were much fatigued ; 
and, calling at a planter's house, were well entertained. 
I had not supposed that my name would be mentioned by 
Mr. Cowles, who was so imprudent as to call me properly. 
Now, there was no man in America more odious to the 
South than myself; and my late movement against the 
rebels in Washington would not tend to propitiate the 
Slave-power. I had been trapped by the imprudence of 
others at Encarnacion ; and now I feared that, after we 
retired to bed, the neighbors might be collected, and I 
made prisoner again. So, as soon as my fellow-traveler 
was asleep, I dressed myself, and quietly went on my 
journey, without taking leave of any one. About day- 
light I reached Annapolis, and reported to General B. F. 
Butler, who received me cordially. Having left my cravat 
at the farm-house, the general gave me one of his own. 

283 



284 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

The next day I took a steamer, and in due time joined my 
family in Philadelphia. 

Finding a ship of the Cunard line was about to sail 
from Boston for Liverpool, I went directly on to that city. 
Charles Francis Adams sailed on the same ship ; and we 
were both enthusiastically cheered by a large concourse of 
Bostonians, who had come ' down to see us off. Adams 
and I had been placed in an unpleasant attitude toward 
each other, as he and Seward were, of course, good 
friends, and I and Seward open enemies. So we hardly 
spoke a word to each other during the voyage. Robert 
J. Walker, once a Cabinet Minister, was now a Unionist 
with us. I found him very agreeable. 

I did not enjoy the sea, though not much sea-sick. It 
was to me then and ever but a waste of waters, void of 
visible animal and vegetable life, which are the loveliest 
features of nature. 

I spent but one night in Liverpool ; and only ran 
ashore a few hours at Queenstovvn, in the Green Isle. 
From Liverpool we went by rail to London, getting there 
by night. Parliament was then in session, and all the 
hotels werej^lll. I had great difficulty in getting lodg- 
ings for the night. By hard persuasion we got the ladies 
apartments ; and I and my Secretary of Legation, Green 
Clay, son of my brother, Brutus J. Clay, and suite, found 
quarters in an obscure hotel. Next day we went to Mor- 
ley's, where Americans mostly resort. 

Mr. Forster and other liberal members of Parliament 
were quite polite to me, he inviting Mr. Adams and my- 
self to breakfast at his house, where we met several gen- 
tlemen of the Liberal Party, as they were then called. 

I spent all my time, whilst in London, in the two 
houses of Parliament, which, most of all things, interested 
me. Lord Palmerston was then Prime Minister, and 
D'Israeli leader of the opposition. I was fortunate in 
hearing both of these noted men make set speeches. 
D'Israeli, who had a long, rather sallow, but intelligent, 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 285 

face, with very dark hair and eyes, was well-dressed and 
polished in his manner, and elegant and labored in his 
oratory. Of course, such a man was always listened to 
with interest. Palmerston was a typical Englishman, with 
sturdy frame, and rather round and heavy head, and feat- 
ures of the blond type. I soon saw that his forte lay in 
his severe common-sense. With a few sentences he had 
the house in an uproar of laughter; and thereby the op- 
position speech was flattened out. Of course, I heard 
other speeches; but they were of little interest. 

The women of England were, to my astonishment, 
allowed no place in the British House of Commons ; and 
I had been some time in the hall before I observed them 
in a crowded gallery, with lattice-work all over the front, 
like parrots in a cage! 

In the House of Lords I also was fortunate in hear- 
ing Lord Brougham, who had won reputation in the 
United States as a Liberal, and especially as an anti- 
slavery advocate of universal liberty. It so happened 
that a petition was sent to him, from some anti-slavery 
men and women, asking aid for the Union cause in 
America, which was read. Now I had form<s6 the high- 
est and most grateful admiration for the British Anti- 
Slavery Party,* having had correspondence with many of 

From the London Daily News, May 9, 1848. 
*MRS. H. B. STOWE AT STAFFORD HOUSE. 

On Saturday last a number of ladies and gentlemen assembled 
at Stafford House, to welcome Mrs. H. B. Stowe to this country, 
and to give expression personally to the respect and admiration 
which are felt for that lady. 

Among those present were observed the Duke and Duchess 
of Sutherland, the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, the Earl and 
Countess of. Shaftesbury, Lord John Russell, Lord Palmerston, the 
Earl of Carlisle, Right Hon. W. Gladstone, the Marquis of Lans- 
downe, the Archbishop of Dublin, Mrs. and Miss Whately, Lord 
Ebrington, Lord Blantyre, Mr. Russell Gurney, Lord Claude Ham- 
ilton, Lord Glenelg, the Dean of St. Paul's, the Rev. Dr. and Mrs. 



286 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

them, including Thomas Clarkson. I had also received 
an elegant print of the Slave-trade on the Coast of 
Africa, framed in rose-wood and gold, from these gen- 
tlemen. What was my horror, then, when Brougham 
said to the speaker, that this question of slavery in Amer- 

Kinnaird, Dowager Countess of Carlisle, Mr. Tom Taylor, the Rev. 
Edmund Holland, Mr. and the Misses J. W. Alexander, the Earl 
of Harrowby, Mr. and Mrs. T. Horman Fisher, Mr. and Mrs. Al- 
sop, the Misses Allen, Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Hanbury, Mr. H. 
Harwood, Mr. and Mrs. Spicer, Mr. Elmsley, Miss Pringle, Mrs. 
Elmsley, Miss Seeley, and Miss Webster, Mrs. and Miss Gurney, 
Mr. and Mrs. Jos. Tritton, the Chevalier Bunsen, Mrs. Mary Howitt, 
Lady Dover, Rev. P. Latrobe, Mr. Ernest Bunsen, Mr. and Miss 
Benson, Rev. Mr. Beecher, Mr. H. E. Gurney, Mrs. Price, Sir 
Robert H. Inglis, Right Hon. H. Labouchere, Mr. Higgins, Col. 
Maclean, Right Hon. T. B. Macaulay, Mr. George, Lady Louisa 
and Miss Finch, Mr. Monckton Milnes, Hon. W. Ashley, Sir 
David Dundas, Hon. C. Howard, Captain J. Trotter, Dr. and Mrs, 
Sutherland, Mrs. Grainger, the Misses Rudall, Rev. R. Burgess, 
Rev. T. Binney and Mrs. Binney, Sir E. N. Buxton, Mr. T. Fow- 
ell Buxton, Rev. Dr. Steane, Mr. J. Conder, Mr. and Mrs. J. 
Cook Evans, Rev. J. Sherman, Mr. Fowler, Mr. G. Oliphant, Mr. 
John MacGregor, etc., etc. 

The company on their arrival were ushered through the mag- 
nificent suite of rooms on the principal floor to the picture gallery 
at the east end, where the Duchess of Sutherland and a distin- 
guished party received her guests. Mrs. Beecher Stowe, accom- 
panied by her husband, Professor Stowe, her brother, and Rev. 
Mr. Binney, with whom she is at present staying, was cordially 
welcomed by her Grace. Mrs. Stowe is rather below the middle 
size. She was neatly but plainly attired ; and, wearing no head- 
dress, her appearance formed a remarkable contrast with the nu- 
merous groups of ladies arrayed in all the brilliancy and variety of 
demi-toilette. 

The Duke of Sutherland having introduced Mrs. Stowe to the 
assembly, the following short address was read and presented to 
her by the Earl of Shaftesbury: 

Madam: — I am deputed by the Duchess of Sutherland, and the ladies of the 
two Committees appointed to conduct '-The Address from the Women of England 
to the Women of America," on the subject of slavery, to express the high gratifi- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 287 

ica was a delicate one, which they had best not interfere 
with ; and asked that the petition, without further com- 
ment, be laid upon the table — placed in eternal silence! 
This was a new and terrible revelation to me ; and I 
can not better compare my feelings than to imagine those 

cation they feel in your presence among them this day. The address, which has 
received considerably more than half a million of the signatures of the women of 
Great Britain and Ireland, they have already transmitted to the United States, con- 
signing it to the care of those whom you have nominated as fit and zealous per- 
sons to undertake the charge in your absence. The earnest desire of these Com- 
mittees, and, indeed, we may say of the whole Kingdom, is to cultivate the most 
friendly and affectionate relations between the two countries, and we can not but 
believe that we are fostering such a feeling when we avow our deep admiration of 
an American lady, who, blessed by the possession of vast genius and intellectual 
power, enjoys the still higher blessing, that she devotes them to the glory of God, 
and the temporal and eternal interests of the human race. 

Rev. Mr. Beecher, Mrs. Stowe's brother, after a few prefatory- 
remarks of acknowledgment and thanks, read the following letter 
which had been written to his sister: 

My Dear Mrs. H. B. Stowe: — .... While I am fully sensible of the 
small results of my efforts in the cause of emancipation, I will not deny that your 
appreciation gives me great pleasure, and, I trust, not ignoble pride. Alas! without 
such kind and cheering words, which I have received from many sources, how could 
I have stood so long up against such odds? However much Providence had gifted 
me with an iron purpose, the loss of caste in the social circle in which we have been 
used to move is hard; the obscurity from which the most fervent ambition can not 
rescue us is hard ; the peril of good name, of life, and limb, is hard ; but harder than 
all is the reflection that we are forever unappreciated by those for whom we sacrifice 
our all. For if we fall, our memory perishes ; the most melancholy idea of Siberian 
exile is the extinction of the name, when the burial-stone not even marks the ashes 
of the past. The history of mankind, therefore, presents few instances of sacrifice for 
the inferior castes. The Gracci fell in defense of the rights of the poor ; and the 
winners in the contest branded their names with infamy from which the late justice 
of history can hardly rescue them. It remained only to the Divine Messenger of our 
faith thus to suffer and to conquer. 

Our plans of procedure in this cause are simple. We follow in the lead of our 
hearts rather than our intelligence; for I am not insensible of the almost indestructi- 
ble power of the slave-holders. I venture to say that never before was an aristocracy 
based on such firm basis. Slavery embraces almost all the talent, the learning, and 
the bodily energy of the people. If the slave-holders had only the two first, and the 
mass of the people the last, we could be to them leaders, and they to us power ; but 
alas! whenever, in the course of events, men of action spring up. the first want of 
accumulated wealth is menial service, which here can only be slave -labor. Thus the 
ownership of slaves places them at once on the side of the men in power. 

Can we persuade men to lay down power? Can the luxurious be induced to 
cease from luxury? Can the lame walk, or the blind see? 

On the other hand, can we infuse spirit and manliness into hereditary depend- 



288 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

of the followers of Thomas Moore's Veiled Prophet, when 
the horrible features of his assumed divinity were revealed 
to them. 

J. Lothrop Motley, the Dutch historian, who was then 
living with his interesting family in London, seemed to be 
quite a favorite in the highest official circles. He was 

ence? Can we make men firm when their bread wastes away? Alas! are not the 
dependent whites the slaves of the slaves? 

Still we "never give up the ship," because to give it up is to give up our idea 
of God ; we can not give it up, because it would be to despair of all eventual eleva- 
tion of the human race; we can not give it up, because our soul lives upon the bread 
of justice, of mercy, and of truth. We perish with hunger, we must eat, and eat 

of them only We trust in Providence, but we trust with our shoulder to 

the wheel. By agitation we prepare the minds of the ruling powers for change. That, 
at least, think they, can not be so insufferable which so many men of all climes SO' 
earnestly crave. Thus you of the North aid us ; thus England aids us ; thus France 
aids us; thus the outcry of all mankind aids us. This, then, is, perhaps, in my time, 
the mission of the Free Soil Party in the slave States — to take care to keep untram- 
meled the freedom of speech and the press, and be the trumpet-tongued messenger of 
truth and the conscience of mankind. 

This is the way of Providence — the undying aspirations for the right in the 
hearts of all true men and women. This is the Divine. All humble and obscure as- 
I am, I am yet too proud to flatter any one; but honor to you that you have not 
buried your talent, nor repined against Him as a hard master. "Uncle Tom's 
Cabin " is the fruit of the embryo inspiration which God has planted in every soul. 
Be of good cheer ; you will not have lived in vain through long centuries. Yes, I 
feel, when slavery shall be no more, you have erected a shrine around which the 
humble, the fainting, the famishing will gather, and be comforted and strengthened, 
and be at peace with men and trustful of God. 

Mrs. Clay gladly accepts the office of Committeeman on the reception of the 
address of the ladies of England, provided it be not too late. It has been the solace 
of long years of painful effort, that she appreciates my principles and my purposes. 
Though all the world is lost, home is secure. 

The vote cast for me advocating unconditional emancipation on the soil was near 
five thousand. The Colonization Party did not sustain me. When they shall give up 
that "Compromise" with slave-holders — if ever — our strength will be greatly in- 
creased. "Uncle Tom" is much read in Kentucky and all the South; here it is mak- 
ing daily converts to our cause. We are organized, have a feeble paper advocating 
our views, which we hope this summer to strengthen with an abler editor. We are 
few, but determined; and may God defend the right. Your obedient servant, 

C. M. Clay. 

After partaking of refreshments, the ladies who were present 
congregated in one of the splendid saloons apart, and Mrs. Stowe, 
seated between the Duchesses of Sutherland and Argyll, entered 
into conversation with her numerous visitors. 

In the course of her observations, she stated that the ladies of 



OF CASSIUS MARCETXUS CLAY. 289 

kind enough to get me introduced to Lord Palmerston; 
and we visited him together at his residence on Hyde 
Park, from whence the aged but vigorous statesman 
walked daily to the House of Commons. As England 
had at all times professed to be the great humanitarian 
enemy of slavery, and could see no good in American insti- 

England were not at all aware of the real state of feeling of the 
ladies of America on the subject of slavery; it must not be judged 
of by the answer sent to the address, nor by the statements in the 
American newspapers. The ladies of England seem not to be at 
all aware of the deep feeling of sympathy with which ' ' Uncle 
Tom's Cabin" was received in America long before it was known 
in England. The press in America had invariably spoken highly 
of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." The first word that ever appeared in 
print against "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was the article in the Times, 
which was reprinted and reechoed in the American papers, and 
widely circulated in the form of a tract. The bitterness and anger 
manifested against the Ladies' Address showed how much its force 
had engaged the advocates of slavery. Ladies in England were 
happily ignorant of slavery; yet that address had shown sympathy, 
and sympathy was very sweet. There was no bitter feeling be- 
tween the ladies of the two countries; but the ladies of America 
can not, because of their husbands' personal and political feelings, 
stand forth and say what they feel on the subject. Some had said 
that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was now forgotten; but it should be 
mentioned that 60,000 copies of the "Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin" 
were sold in three days. The practical question was : What can be 
done to forward this great work ? She looked first to God ; but 
man also could do something. Sympathy must continue to be 
expressed. British subjects in Canada must be educated. The 
use of the free-grown cotton must be encouraged ; and there were 
other ways in which this great work may be aided by the people 
of England, remembering that, after all, the issue is in the hands 
of Him that ordereth all things. 

The company began to disperse soon after five o'clock, every 
one appearing to be thoroughly gratified with the interesting pro- 
ceedings of the day. Mrs. Stowe and her friends were among the 
last to leave, and were accompanied to the entrance hall by the 
Duchess of Sutherland, who there took leave of her guests. 

Vol. I. — 19 



29O MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

tutions on account of our "Inhumanity to Man," as Burns 
has it, we felt that now, when we risked all for the liber- 
ation of the slave, that we had a right to, at least, neu- 
trality and sympathy from the British Empire. We. there- 
fore explained the whole movement to the Minister; to 
which he listened politely, but with reserve. The sequel 
is known to all the world : England, of all the earth, 
proved the most uncompromising enemy of the Union 
Cause! The reasons are equally obvious: She never 
allows a sentiment to overthrow her policy of universal 
dominion ; and especially is she jealous of all rivalry on 
the sea. They all understood that America, then, was 
her only contestant on that element, and a dissolution of 
the Union would ruin our possible supremacy. * So, dur- 
ing all the Civil War, every-where, the English were as 
inimical to us as the Slave power itself. 

Besides Motley and Fremont, there were other eminent 
Americans in London, including several foreign Ministers; 
and it was generally agreed that an appeal to the British 
public should be made at once, without awaiting the slow 
and limited influence of our Minister, Mr. Adams ; and I 
was thought to be the man most fit to do it. To this I 
objected; but at length performed that duty by a letter, 
known afterward as my ''Times Letter," as it was pub- 
lished in that leading journal. This letter was submitted 

* It remains to be seen how far the introduction of steam-ships 
and iron-clads will effect the naval power of the British Empire. 
Europe is preparing, as never before, to contest English superiority. 
England seems to appreciate the situation ; for she is still building, 
by an enormous outlay, more ships. One thing is certain. Her 
prestige at sea being lost, all is lost. She must then lose her sub- 
ject colonies, and her independence even, or sink into an unimpor- 
tant power. The United States only can, in such case, save her, 
as I foretold in my "Times Letter." Her rulers now seem to 
appreciate our future power; and are now more than anxious to 
propitiate us. Perhaps she may succeed. As the "Times Letter" 
has been much commented on, I regret that I have not been able 
to get a copy for republication here. — C, 1885. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 29 1 

to others and approved, especially by Motley, who, being 
well informed regarding British feeling and literary criti- 
cism, went carefully over my letter, and corrected some 
clauses. This letter, I have reason to believe, did much 
to hold the British people from the hazardous alliance 
with France and the Mexican Invasion. But there it 
stands, and I stand by it. * 

*This letter attracted the attention of all Europe. Archibald 
Alison, the distinguished historian, in consequence of it and the 
Harriet Beecher Stowe demonstration, opened a friendly corre- 
spondence with me upon Morals, Religion, and Politics. Some 
of this coming to the eyes of the public, the New York Tribune, 
in the Bayard Taylor intrigue to supersede me in office, instead 
of complimenting me, denounced me, — I was not sent to Russia 
to discuss Religion and Morals ! When I treated the same sub- 
jects in the Liberal movement at home, Greeley saw much to 
commend, — it was in unison with the Tribune; but when one of 
its editors wanted my place, it was monstrous assumption ! Yet 
Taylor proposed, as a reason why I should give way to him, 
that he wanted to study and write up Russian history! So it is 
well said, in the old adage: "One man may steal a horse with 
impunity, whilst another is hung for looking through the pal- 
ings!"— C, 1885. 

LETTER OF JOHN BRIGHT. 

Rochedale, January 9, 1862. 
My Dear Sir : — I received your kind letter with much pleas- 
ure. The events and dangers of the last month have pressed so 
much upon me, that I have postponed my answer to it from day 
to day. Last night we received news which, if true, indicates 
that the immediate danger is over. Your Government has acted 
with moderation and a true courage; and I fear that we have been 
wanting in that generosity and forbearance to which you were en- 
titled. Our ruling class does not like you, or your institutions, or 
your success ; and our people have not yet so far merged from 
submission to it, as to be able to form a judgment of their own, 
separate from the lies and delusions which have been offered 
them. I hope now that this danger is surmounted, that all who 
care for peace will labor for it ; for in peace, so far as Europe is 



292 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

This letter was complained of by Adams ; for what 
reason I can not imagine, unless it seemed that I invaded 
his dominion. But, as the press is now far above all the 
red tape of diplomacy, I do not see what ground he had 
to object, as the whole letter was friendly and highly com- 
plimentary to the British Nation. 

Going to Paris, the Americans there thought some 
demonstration was advisable ; and a breakfast was gotten 
up in a formal manner, at which many speeches were 
made, in a delicate way complimentary to the antecedents 
of the French Nation and people, in connection with the 
great Republic of the West. I knew very well that in 
the internal affairs of the French there was vast oppo- 
sition to the ruling power ; but my purpose was to en- 
list the sympathies of the people, knowing that, as in 
England, the monarchical element would, inevitably be 
against us. Now all confess that it was the people in both 

concerned, rests your chance of restoring your Union, and your 
power, now or hereafter, to deal with the slave question. 

There is a danger in the blockade. The cotton question has 
not yet assumed, but it may assume, a formidable shape; and the 
French and English governments may think it good policy to force 
the United States to raise the blockade. Nothing would be a 
greater blunder or crime, in my opinion; but blunders and crimes 
form the staple of the history of governments. I am in hopes 
that the evident and growing strength of the North may convince 
Europe of their ultimate and not distant success; and then I think 
the temptation to any interference will be lessened. 

If New Orleans and Mobile and Savannah could be occupied 
by the Government, then the blockade might be raised as far as 
those ports are concerned, and trade in cotton might be opened, 
if there are men in the interior willing to be saved from the ruin 
with which the insurrection menaces every owner of property in the 
South. 

You have been justly angry at the apparent want of sympathy 
among the English people. Our ruling class have, as you know, 
great influence on the opinion of all below them in the social scale, 
and they and their press have poisoned the public mind ; but a re- 
action is now observable, and I think opinion is far more favorable 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 293 

nations which held England and France in check, finally 
overthrew the combined invasion of Mexico, and ulti- 
mately lost Napoleon his throne. These things were not 
unknown in St. Petersburg ; for, of all the governments 
of the world, the Russians are the best informed of cur- 
rent events in other Empires. 

My reception by the Czar was remarkable for its length 
and cordiality. I gave it in full to the State Department, 
that Seward might form his own opinions as to the feel- 
ing of the Czar toward us. But he published it without 
my authority, thinking, no doubt, to injure me by the ap- 
parent want of dignity in my narration of the incidents. 
The London Times commented on it to my disadvantage; 
but I am proud to leave it before the public, where Seward 
put it, that it should disprove the effort afterward made to 
claim the action of the Czar in our favor as the fruit of 
the short intervening ministry of Cameron and Taylor. * 

to the United States Government than it was some time ago, and 
that much opinion hitherto silent has been brought into action. 
The Times newspaper in London, and the Herald in New York, 
are responsible for a large portion of the mischief. 

The Times writes for the ruling class and the military service; 
and I suppose the Herald writes to please somebody or some class 
in your country. Every thing said by those journals should be 
doubted, and most of it should be disbelieved. 

We will hope for better days. I think we approach a time of 
sounder views in England; and when once your Union is restored, 
and the evil of slavery is driven out, or bound in chains and is 
powerless, the world will have much to be thankful for, even in 
the terrible calamity which is now shaking your continent. 

With many thanks for your most friendly letter, believe me to 
be yours, very sincerely, 

John Bright. 
C. M. Clay, Esq., 

United States' Legation, St. Petersburg. 

* During my first mission, the Confederates had emissaries in 
most of the courts of Europe; and it was reported that L. O. C. 
Lamar, of Mississippi, was accredited to St. Petersburg, as the 



294 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

The rivalry of Russia and England may be said to be 
hereditary, if not natural. Besides the many life struggles 
of the two powers, their position as to India, China, and 
all Eastern Asia, and Japan, are essentially antagonistic; 
and no third power is likely to intervene in the final set- 
tlement, unless it might be the United States, from her 
western shores, and through the Pacific Ocean. 

The Czar had already entered upon the traditional 
policy of his dynasty, in the overthrow of serfdom or white 
slavery, and was well-informed as to the movements in 
America; and I was just as well-known in St. Petersburg 
as I was in London. But whatever may have been my 
personal influence, the policy of Russia was well-defined 
by inevitable events ; and the attempt to detract from my 
public service is not only unjust, but futile. 

The profession of diplomacy in the old nations is con- 
fined to the regular officials, gradually rising from the 
lowest grades to the highest, where seniority, as in 
armies, is generally allowed prominence. The conse- 
quence is, that all the forms of etiquette, both official and 
social, are well understood, and rigidly enforced. An 
offense against the forms which "hedge a king" are 
more severely punished than even crimes, for state rea- 
sons. Whilst this gives many advantages to the diplo- 
mates of other nations, it moulds them socially into one 
form, as equal and indistinguishable as the pebbles on the 
sea-shore. An American has, then, one advantage, if he 
has tact ; that is his novelty and individuality. When all 

Confederate Minister. One day I asked Gortchacow if he had put 
in his appearance yet? He replied, with his usual emphasis: 
"No; he dare not come here." After reconstruction, Mr. Lamar 
was the first Senator from Mississippi; and at present he is Secre- 
tary of the Interior of the United States! "The king has come 
to his own again." On the Sherman resolution in the Senate, he 
stood over the prostrate Republic, and declared he would "allow 
no man to call Jeff. Davis a traitor." Such is the instability of 
human affairs! Who can solve the mysteries of fate? — C, 1885. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 295 

are surrounded with the ever-recurring- ceremonies of 
court-life, this freshness, as I may call it, — "greenness," 
as others might say, — is at times agreeable. 

The true politeness of universal society is the same — 
to be agreeable and deferential to others ; and should 
never give way to either impertinence or self-abasement. 
The centralization of all the wealth, of all the learning, 
of all military achievements, of all the aristocracy of a 
great nation in one circle, under the most finished school 
of refinement, gives the Russian high-life the precedence 
over all others in the world. The aristocracy of Russia, 
men and women, are models of form and refinement ; and, 
as an aggregate, excel all others. To one who has the 
entree into these circles, nothing in the social way can 
give more agreeable pastime, or " savoir-vivre." I was 
in the prime of life, not a bad-looking fellow, who had 
seen much of the world, and who was determined to 
please. I broke through all etiquette so far as to be 
affable to all classes alike ; and when I made a gaucherie, 
I was the first to laugh at it. 

I remember once talking familiarly with the Empress, 
when I first got to St. Petersburg. She was a woman of 
good sense, and great sweetness of disposition and feat- 
ures, though of delicate health. I was interested in her 
conversation, and she was by no means displeased with 
mine. Now the greatest breach of etiquette in Russia is 
to address the imperial family without being first spoken 
to. How could I know? Foreign legations were glad 
to see me in a false position. The Russians were horri- 
fied. I was told afterward that a consultation was held 
by the immediate suite of the Emperor to break up the 
tete-a-tete, by informing me of my error. They named it 
to the Emperor; but he smiled, and said: "He will know 
better after a while." 

The Empress, even after I had "learned better," 
seemed to find pleasure in some new ideas and freedom 
of thought, and frequently renewed our conversations. 



296 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

So two of the most distinguished ladies of Russian society 
introduced themselves, at a ball, (each the other) to me. 
The one was the belle of the times of Nicholas, Madame 
the Princess Radziwill, * the sister-in-law of Prince Gort- 
chacow. The other was the Princess Kotzoubey, once 
Belliselski, the mother of the Prince Belliselski, who mar- 
ried the sister of Scobeloff, the noted general of the Turk- 
ish war. The Princess Kotzoubey was at the very head 
of Russian society, and the wealthiest of the nobility, 
entertaining (but few did so,) the imperial family at her 
city palace, on the Nevski Street, on great occasions. So 
I found Russian society very agreeable. My family, as 
soon as the novelty oi the new situation had passed 
away, not finding the climate very healthy, returned home, 
leaving me alone. 

As Seward had not given me leave of absence, as he 
did other ministers, and as do all other governments, I 
had seen but little of Europe ; so I set out by railroad 
for the kingdom of Saxony, as I was anxious to see the 
land of our reputed ancestors, as well as to gratify my 
artistic taste by seeing the celebrated paintings, which, 
at Dresden, on the Elbe, are many of the finest in Eu- 
rope, although St. Petersburg greatly outnumbers the 
Dresden gallery. I spent many days in Dresden, visiting 
the art halls, the palace, and its fine jewels of the crown. 
But, above all, I was delighted with this the most pictur- 
esque city I had ever seen, resting upon the alluvial plains 
of this beautiful river, and spreading over the terraced hills 
or mountains, for which Saxony is noted. But the most 

* As the Princess was the sister-in-law of Prince Gortchacow, 
I regard the following letter, among others from personages of 
high political position, as significant of the " entente cordiale" be- 
tween the two powers, — she being quite a politician. — C, 1885: 

La Princesse Radziwill est bien en regret d'avoir ete prive du plaisir de voir 
Monsieur Clay. Elle prie Monsieur le Ministre d'agreer tous ces voeux pour son 
heureux voyage; et elle espere avoir de ces nouvelles bientot. 
12-24 yum, £*• PeUrsbourg, 1862. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 297 

agreeable part of the "voyage" was the companionship 
of several Russians — old friends, who were here spend- 
ing the summer ; and especially was I fortunate in the 
company of my traveling companions, Madame A. E., and 
her gallant husband — a general in the Russian army. 
Madame E. was one of the handsomest women I met in 
Russia, which is saying much ; and we made many excur- 
sions with her friends into the country. The trees were 
in full leaf, interspersed with cultivated flowers and taste- 
ful cottages. The black-heart cherries were found in many 
successive orchards fully ripe, and the finest I ever saw. 
The Saxon lads and lassies, with their ruddy faces, full 
persons, and golden-plaited hair, were seen every-where 
gathering the cherries, which were sold cheaply in open 
booths with rustic benches, where all travelers were wel- 
comed with a smile and a kind word, as the luscious fruit 
was measured and served. 

So passed the hours of many days that I lingered in 
Saxon-land; and, when the time for our parting came, to 
set out for Baden-Baden — the celebrated springs, where 
the Russian nobility spend much of their time — I felt 
annoyed, like when one is aroused from a delicious dream 
by the noisy footsteps of unwelcome comers. But my 
friend, Madame A. E., who had very black hair and 
brown eyes, took me by the hand and said, in her mixed 
French-Russian (she spoke no English): "Come, Colonel 
Clay; for your wife's sake, I will not allow you longer 
time among these golden-haired syrens, who I see are 
more dangerous than armies set in serried files." 

So I called to mind the old distich: 

"Where women fly, men will pursue; 
Whether their eyes be black or blue ! " 

And submitted with commendable grace to the inevitable. 

At Baden I found more Russians than at Dresden — 

the gambling-tables forming, no doubt, some attraction, as 

well as the noted surroundings. Here we made the round 



298 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

of all the historical places, — the shady groves and im- 
promptu picnics, as at Dresden, being to me the chief 
attraction. But, on the Elysian fields, as on the battle- 
field, fate presses us on — on — on, forever! I took, in 
sadness, leave of my friends, who hoped to see me back 
in Russia, and hurried on through Paris and London for 
America ; as my patriotism would not allow me to linger 
again on English soil. 

Passing over the sea once more, and which seemed 
now more in consonance with my troubled thoughts, I kept 
aloof from every one, absorbed in sober reflections upon 
my country's ingratitude. I landed in New York, having 
touched at Halifax, where we found the British as bitter 
as the worst rebels, and, hurrying on to Washington, I 
reported to President Lincoln. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



Recalled and Commissioned Major-General of Volunteers. — Simon Cameron 
and Bayard Taylor succeed me. — Return to Washington City. — Over- 
throw of the Slave-Power foreshadowed. — President Lincoln's Letters. 
Salmon P. Chase. — My Washington Speech. — Interview with General 
Halleck. — The President sends me to Kentucky. — The Battle of Rich- 
mond, Ky. — Prof. Blinn's Eulogy. — Halleck's Special Order set aside 
by the President. — I resign my Major-general's Commission. 



SEWARD was too glad to avail himself of my promise 
to Lincoln, about the generalship, to recall me, and 
send Simon Cameron, who had got into bad odor as Sec- 
retary of War by his business-affairs with the railroads 
and the Government. He was sent to supersede me, 
with Bayard Taylor as Secretary of Legation. It was 
understood that Cameron was to slide down to his old 
level, using the mission to St. Petersburg as a parachute ; 
and that Taylor, who had great influence as one of the 
owners and editors of the New York Tribune, was to 
take his place as minister in full. I had made a very full 
investment of my small salary in beautiful plate, and other 
articles of vertu from Paris, made under my immediate 
direction ; and, by giving a few elegant entertainments, 
which were not excelled by any one, I gave the Russians 
an idea of my taste and training. After that they care 
no more ; for they had all that money could buy, or 
genius invent, for all the pleasures of life. If they liked 
flowers, I accommodated them ; if paintings, I had some 
of the rarest; if wines,- I had every sample of the world's 
choice ; if the menu was the object, nothing was there 
wanting. The flowers could be hired ; the paintings were 
a permanent investment ; the wines cost no more of every 
variety than one choice one ; and the eating was not in- 

299 



300 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

creased, by its variety, in price. So I was in no haste to 
go back to America ; and I determined to return to St. 
Petersburg again. 

I left my furniture and carriages unsold, in the care of 
my chasseur, John, a freedman, and returned to Wash- 
ington. Seward, in his recall, had simply thanked me, in 
the name of the President, for my services, and inclosed 
me a Major-General's commission, informing me at the 
same time of Cameron's succession. 

Cameron was not at all fitted for this post, in which 
personal bearing is every thing. He did not belong to 
"them literary fellows;" and was a coarse man in senti- 
ment, and rude in manners. I was present at his pres- 
entation to the Emperor; in fact, I presented him. And 
when the Emperor made, or, rather, was making, his 
speech of reception, Cameron interrupted, and discon- 
certed him. Such rudeness one would have thought 
would be hardly tolerated in a backwoods-Dutchman's 
house in Pennsylvania. He received the Russian noble- 
men, at times, in the legation-rooms ; and, on the whole, 
his like was rarely "seen before, or behind either," as 
Don Piatt would say. 

Bayard Taylor was a traveler, and a man of some 
learning, but was little more polished than Cameron, and 
in all the years that I spent in St. Petersburg I never 
heard any one whatever speak of Cameron or Taylor ; 
whilst of Mr. and Mrs. Pickens, of South Carolina, much 
was said in complimentary reminiscence. Mr. Appleton, 
my immediate predecessor, was a retired, quiet gentleman ; 
and I believe had not gone much into society. 

Returning through London, I was invited by Mr. Adams 
to a family-dinner, which I accepted. I was the only 
guest. But little was said in any way ; and that was the 
last I saw of him. In the interval, from the time of my 
leaving him at London to my return, hearing rumors of 
dissatisfaction, I wrote to him from St. Petersburg, asking 
him about my ''Times Letter;" and he wrote me a long 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



30I 



vindication of his right to be discontented with my course. 
So he and Cameron again stood between me and the 
light. 

Arriving in Washington, the Union armies seemed to 
be every-where worsted. Lincoln, under Seward's influ- 
ence, had restrained the generals from taking a very neces- 
sary war-measure, declaring slaves, as other property, sub- 
ject to capture and confiscation. And Stanton, from hav- 
ing been an old-line Democrat, though he joined the 
Republicans when the Democratic Party seemed inevitably 
ruined, yet cordially hated all earnest anti-slavery men. 
It was his special pleasure to kill off Frank P. Blair, J. C. 
Fremont, and such generals, by refusing them proper sup- 
port, as Secretary of War. 

Believing that the war was and ought to be a failure, 
with the old cancer of slavery left in the Union, I was 
every-where outspoken in favor of declaring the slaves of 
all the States in rebellion free, as suggested long since 
by John Ouincy Adams; and I so expressed myself to 
Lincoln. Henry Wilson seems to think that the emanci- 
pation proclamations are the great events, not only of the 
war, but of the age. They are. But he also seems to 
be quite in the mist as to the causes and movements in 
that regard. To show my connection with these great 
events, and to throw light on their causes and effects, is 
one of the most potent motives for my writing these Mem- 
oirs. For, after I succeeded in carrying Lincoln with me, 
delicacy forbade my avowals ; and afterward the Repub- 
lican press was closed to me, and it was no way to gain 
favor with the Democrats to show them how I had ruined 
them. 

So I determined to force this policy, or return to Rus- 
sia, if possible. I went to Lincoln and told him my dis- 
trust of Stanton and Halleck. That it was, I thought, a 
foolish thing- to fight at all, if the same old cancer of 
slavery was to remain after a peace. That the Democrats 
never wanted war, and were ready at any time to make a 



302 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

disgraceful peace. That our party was divided by the un- 
certain aims of the Unionists. That the autocracy of 
Europe were ready to destroy the great Republic, which 
was ever a menace to the crowned-heads. That whilst 
we fought simply for empire, the people of the advanced 
powers of England and France were indifferent to our 
success ; but that, in the cause of liberty, we would have 
a safe check upon their rulers, who would not dare to in- 
terfere in behalf of slavery. That, at all events, if fall 
we must, let us fall with the flag of universal liberty and 
justice nailed to the mast-head. Then, at least, we should 
have the help of God, and the sympathies of mankind, for 
a future struggle, and live in the memory of the good in 
all time. I told him that I desired to return to St. Peters- 
burg. That the most of my remnant of a once large for- 
tune was expended in my outfit at the Russian court ; and 
that I wished to be sent back. That I had canvassed in 
his behalf, by his request ; and that he had promised me 
the place of Secretary of War in his own voluntary letter, 
a promise which he had failed to perform. * 

Lincoln listened with great attention, and said: "Who 
ever heard of a reformer reaping the rewards of his work 
in his life-time? I was advised that your appointment 
as Secretary of War would have been considered a dec- 

* ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S LETTERS. 

Springfield, Illinois, July 20, i860. 
Hon. Cassius M. Clay — 

My Dear Sir : — I see by the papers, and also learn from Mr. 
Nicolay, who saw you at Terre Haute, that you are filling a list 
of speaking-appointments in Indiana. I sincerely thank you for 
this, and I shall be still further obliged if you will, at the close 
of the tour, drop me a line, giving your impression of our pros- 
pects in that State. 

Still more will you oblige me, if you will allow me to make 
a list of appointments in our State, commencing, say, at Marshall, 
in Clark County, and thence south and west along over Wabash 
and Ohio River border. 

In passing, let me say, that at Rockport you will be in the 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



303 



laration of war upon the South. I have no objections 
to your return to St. Petersburg. I thought that you 
had desired to return home ; at least, Seward so stated 
it to me." 

I here saw the sentiments of Seward and Weed, and 
the work of the Whigs of Kentucky, whom I had defeated 
in honorable warfare. I replied: "It is true that I had 
said, in 1861, when pressed to take command as Major- 
General, that I would return if it was deemed best, on 
account of so much treason in the regular army. But 
now, after more than a year's struggle, no such motives 
remain ; and what I might have undertaken then would 
be out of place now, when all but myself have had the 
experience of more than a year's service. It is untrue 
that I have given Seward the least intimation that I desired 
to return home." And with this our interview ended. 

county within which I was brought up, from my eighth year; 
having left Kentucky at that point of my life. Yours, very truly, 

A. Lincoln. 

Springfield, Illinois, August 10, i860. 
Hon. C. M. Clay— 

My Dear Sir : — Your very kind letter of the 6th was received 
yesterday. It so happened that our State Central Committee was 
in session here at the time; and, thinking it proper to do so, I 
submitted the letter to them. They were delighted with the assur- 
ance of having your assistance. For what appears good reasons, 
they, however, propose a change in the programme, starting you 
at the same place (Marshall, in Clark County), and thence north- 
ward. This change, I suppose, will be agreeable to you ; as it 
will give you larger audiences, and much easier travel — nearly all 
being by railroad. They will be governed by your time; and when 
they shall have fully designated the places, you will . be duly noti- 
fied. As to the inaugural, I have not yet commenced getting it 
up ; while it affords me great pleasure to be able to say the cliques 
have not yet commenced upon me. Yours, very truly, 

A. Lincoln. 

Note. — See A. Lincoln's letter offering Secretaryship of War, in possession of 
the Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, Ky. — C, 1885. 



304 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Soon afterward I received the following- letter 



c> 



Executive Mansion, Washington, August 12, 1862. 
Hon. Cassius M. Clay — 

My Dear Sir : — I learn that you would not dislike returning 
to Russia, as Minister Plenipotentiary. You were not recalled for 
any fault of yours ; but, as understood, it was done at your request. 
Of course, there is no personal objection to your re-appointment. 
Still, General Cameron can not be recalled except by his request. 
Some conversation passing between him and myself, renders it due 
that he should not resign without full notice of my intention to 
re-appoint you. If he resigns with such full knowledge and under- 
standing, I shall be quite willing, and even gratified, to send you 
to Russia. Your obedient servant, A. Lincoln. 

Of all the men of my time, I was most intimate with 
Salmon P. Chase, then Secretary of the Treasury. As I 
said before, I preferred him to all persons for President in 
i860; but Benj. F. Wade killed him off. I had been in- 
timate with him from very early manhood, in 1835; and I 
was now his guest at Washington, in 1862. When I set 
out from Russia, as before said, I intended to return there; 
but, when I got to Washington, and saw how the war was 
going on, I began to think that, if I could carry on the 
war by declaring the slaves free, we could win ; if not, we 
should fail. With these sentiments avowed, Chase was 
extremely anxious that I should at once take a command ; 
but I told him Stanton and Halleck had killed off all the 
anti-slavery generals, and would sacrifice me also. That 
I had so told Lincoln ; and had asked to return to St. 
Petersburg. He said he thought I was mistaken ; and he 
would go with me and see Halleck himself, and urge my 
having an independent command. To this I assented. 
We went to Halleck's office, and, in private, had a long 
conversation with him, Chase doing most of the talking. 
Mr. Chase said that, as I had a Major-General's commis- 
sion in my pocket, I should receive the western command, 
where Fremont had been first placed. Halleck was very 
reserved, and at length showed so much ill-nature that we 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 305 

left him. Chase then said: "Clay, I can no longer urge 
you to stay ; I do not think you could have fair play, and, 
of course, could not help us." 

In the meantime, after leaving Lincoln, I made a 
speech in Washington which excited the widest comment. 
As I have not preserved any report of it, it having been 
made, as usual, extemporaneously, I give the following 
verbatim account of its spirit from the Louisville Journal, 
August 19, 1862: 

CASSIUS M. CLAY. 

We take the following passage from a letter of the regular 
Washington correspondent of the New York Evening Post: 

Washington, August 13, 1862. — The speech of Mr. C. M. 
Clay at Odd Fellows' Hall last night gave sufficient evidence that 
the statement of the Evening Post a day or two since in reference 
to him (and which has been doubted in some quarters here,) was 
absolutely correct. Mr. Clay said repeatedly and distinctly in his 
speech, that he would never draw his sword so long as slavery 
was protected by the Government. The tone of his remarks on 
this head was not very encouraging. That I may not be accused 
of misrepresentation, let me quote a paragraph from the Repub- 
lican s report of the speech: 

"Mr. Clay then spoke of our efforts at home. He was not 
fully satisfied with the drift of affairs. He believed the President 
to be an honest man, and the officers in the main desired to do 
right ; but we are trying to conquer the rebellion with the sword 
in one hand and the shackles in the other. We are fighting as 
though we were anxious that neither side should win. You have 
been eighteen months carrying on this war on peace principles, 
and what have you gained? I am told by men high in authority 
that the capital is yet in danger. You allow four millions of good 
Union men in the South, who are your natural allies, to cut your 
own throats, because you can not lay aside a sickly prejudice. 
He (Mr. Clay) xvonld never use the sword while slavery is protected in 
rebel States. [Loud applause and cheers. A lady near us indig- 
nantly asserted that she did not come to hear Abolition speeches.] 
Far better acknowledge the Confederacy, and let Mr. Davis and 
his people go by themselves, than attempt to defeat the designs 
of God in regard to the great question of universal liberty. You 
must give to every man the same liberty you desire for yourself. 
Vol. I. — 20 



306 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

[Applause.] When I draw a sword, it shall be for the liberation and 
not the enslavement of mankind. [Wild enthusiasm and applause.] 
He would not have the Constitution disobeyed or altered in a line 
or a letter. He stood now where he always stood, for the Con- 
stitution, the Union, and the enforcement of the laws." 

If this report is correct, and it is taken from the Washington 
Republican, in which it appeared under Mr. Clay's eyes without 
contradiction from him, Mr. Clay is a conditional Unionist of the 
most odious description ; or, rather, he is a rebel, about as good 
or bad as can be found any where in this country. If this is, 
indeed, Mr. Clay's position, there can be no truth in the rumor 
that he is to receive an important military command west of the 
Mississippi. There can be no truth, even, in the rumor that he 
is to go back to St. Petersburg as the representative of this 
country at the Court of Russia. The only place to which a citi- 
zen, entertaining such views and promulgating them, can be sent, 
consistent with a recent order of the War Department, is Fort 
Warren, or some other military prison of the nation. 

We did hope that Mr. Clay would return from abroad with 
higher and more temperate views of our national troubles than 
he carried away with him, or that at least he would return no 
more extreme than he went. We certainly never dreamed that 
he would not come back an unconditional Union man. Yet, we 
fear our expectations touching him have come to naught. He 
seems to have kept pace on the banks of the Neva with the most 
swift-footed and hot-headed Abolitionists in the Lyceums of New 
England, or the halls of the Capitol. He has outstripped him- 
self. He is ahead of Lovejoy. He is neck by neck with Gar- 
rison and Phillips. 

We respectfully submit his position to the attention of the 
President. If he is correctly represented, he has clearly deprived 
himself of all powers of usefulness to his country in this day of 
her trial. He is as little able to serve her as he is willing. 

From the Cincinnati Gazette, August 19, 1862. 

Speech of Cassiits M. Clay — He denounces England, thinks France is 

well-disposed, Eulogizes Russia, and Lavs Down his Views 

of Conducting the War. 

As already announced in our dispatches, Cassius M. Clay made 
a speech at Washington on Tuesday evening. As its principal 
points were telegraphed by our correspondent, it is only necessary 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 307 

to quote a few passages, to which justice could not be done in 
his abstract : 

' ' I now assure you that you found your hopes of British friend- 
ship, amity, and non-interference upon a false basis, if you sup- 
pose there is any anti-slavery sentiment in the British dominions 
that is going to keep England from laying violent hands upon 
this great Republic when she dares. [Cries of "That is so." 
Fear is the only thing that deters her from interfering in behalf 
of the South, for the purpose of prostrating and forever blotting 
out from the insignia of nations the Star-Spangled Banner, which 
is the pride of our nation, and the mighty representative of our 
principles. [Loud applause.] I give you my word of honor that, 
after the closest observation, and most thorough intercourse with 
Englishmen in every part of Europe, I have scarcely met one man 
who did not sincerely desire the overthrow of the American Re- 
public, and believe such would be the ultimate result — Mr. Fors- 
ter, in the House of Parliament, and Messrs. Cobden and Bright, 
being honorable exceptions ; but they are merely sectional men, 
and do but represent the British people, who are honestly and 
fearlessly on our side, because they love the principles which that 
flag represents ; but their influence is, as I before remarked, only 
limited. I think I hazard nothing in saying that there is no pub- 
lic sentiment whatever, and no potent people, in England, who 
are on our side, against those who would lay violent hands upon 
the insignia of our nationality. 

' ' I believe that the French people and the French Emperor are 
now, and have been from the beginning, just as the Emperor of 
the French has again and again avowed himself to be, a firm and 
fixed friend of the American Republic. Let us not take England 
as a source of information as to the disposition and design of the 
Emperor. We all know, when it was loudly and universally pro- 
claimed in France, that the French Emperor had declared his 
determination to interfere, how the Government, through its au- 
thenticated journal, the Moniteur, treated the matter. The Em- 
peror, too, in his address to the French Chambers, told them 
that, so far from proposing to interfere by his action with the 
blockade which the American Republic had established, he never 
would interfere, unless just cause of interference should occur. 
[Loud » and prolonged applause.] Now, gentlemen, there is an 
avowal. Those words arc on record, and the world knows it. 
Neither you nor I, the newspaper press nor any set of men, have 



308 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

the right to question the integrity of this avowal until some act 
shall occur which would give the lie to it. [Cheers.] I think — 
I say it from the best information which I can get — followed up 
by this letter, which was written while the difficulty attending the 
arrest of Mason and Slidell was pending, that the French nation 
has been and still is the friend of the American Republic* [Ap- 
plause.] Let us, then, give him our faith and our confidence, that 
he means what he says ; that he will do and act as he means. 
[Loud applause.] 

' ' I think I can say, without implication of profanity or want of 
deference, that, since the days of Christ himself, such a happy and 
glorious privilege has not been reserved to any other man to do 
that amount of good ; and no man has ever more gallantly or 
nobly done it than Alexander II., the Czar of Russia. I refer 
to the emancipation of the 23,000,000 of serfs.f [Vociferous 
cheering.] Here, then, fellow-citizens, was the place to look for 
an ally. [Renewed applause.] Here, fellow-citizens, you have 
found an ally. [Cheers.] Trust him; for your trust will not be 
misplaced. [Applause.] Stand by him, and he will — as he has 
often declared to me he will — stand by you. [The speaker was 
here interrupted by a long, continuous outburst of applause, which 
lasted some time.] Not only Alexander, but his whole family 
are with you. [Renewed applause.] Men, women, and children. 
[Continued applause.] None of them eat the bread of idleness. 
Those that belong to the royal house are acting an important part 
in the administration of the Government. One takes the head of 
the navy, another the army, another agriculture, etc. — all men 
with temperate habits, cultivated intellects, and fine address, de- 
voting all their energies in co-operating with the Czar for the 
elevation of his people. A more lovely, intelligent, virtuous, 
and noble family never occupied or surrounded a throne before. 
Whilst I spent days and weeks in moving around, gazing at and 
admiring the people, I was surprised ; for I had read in English 
journals of the Russian people being but little better than beasts 
of the field, but I have found that the Russians are a great race. 

■' It is true Napoleon subsequently proved false to his avowals up to this time; 
but the French people showed, by their subsequent action, that I was right about 
them. — C, 1885. 

tThe initial steps toward emancipation were taken in 1861 ; but the details 
took several years more to complete the emancipation of the serfs of Russia. — C, 
1885. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. T>°9 

"Well, now, you are going to conquer the South. How? By 
my friend Seward taking dinners and drinks? [Laughter and ap- 
plause.] You are going to conquer the South by taking the 
sword in one hand and slave-shackles in the other. You are 
going to conquer the South with one portion of your force, while 
the other is detailed to guard rebel property. You are so mag- 
nanimous that you are going to put down this gigantic effort at 
our national life, in the language of Jim Lane, "by fighting their 
battles and your own." [Applause.] How long have you tried 
it? For nearly eighteen months. Some of the best men in this 
country have gone down to their graves. Two hundred and fifty 
thousand of the loyal troops of the United States have died on 
the battle-field, or been disabled by sickness. How many millions 
have you expended? Why, a sum rolling up to one thousand 
millions — almost one-fourth of the national debt of England, that 
has been accumulating for ages — and still you have been carry- 
ing on the war. Upon such principles as those you can not 
stand upright in the eyes of the world. On these principles you 
never can conquer; and I am told by men high in authority that 
the capitol is still in danger. Gentlemen, how much longer is 
this thing to continue? 

"Fight this war on the principle of common-sense. As for my- 
self, never, so help me God, will I draw a sword to keep the 
chains upon another fellow-being. [Tremendous applause.] Sup- 
pose, gentlemen, that you succeed upon the present policy; what 
have you gained? Better recognize the Southern Confederacy at 
once, and stop this effusion of blood, than to continue in this 
present ruinous policy, or have even a restoration of the Union 
as it was. Change your policy, and show that you are in earnest. 
Send an ambassador — me, if you will, much as the slave-holders 
hate me, and I them — to Jeff. Davis with a message that, if he 
will consent to have the rebels lay down their arms, and come 
again under the protection of the old flag and the Constitution, 
that protection will be granted to him; but, if not, warn him of 
the consequence, and then go to work in real earnest, and, if 
necessary, desolate the whole South. 

"As regards the disposition of the negro, I am opposed to 
colonization, because it will be the means of delaying emancipa- 
tion; in fact, only tending to perpetuate the institution of slav- 
ery, and the difficulties of its overthrow, by raising the value of 
slaves." 



3IO MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AMD SPEECHES 

Soon Lincoln sent for me, and said: "I have been 
thinking of what you said to me, but I fear if such proc- 
lamation of emancipation was made Kentucky would go 
against us; and we have now as much as we can carry." 

I replied: "You are mistaken. The Kentuckians have 
heard this question discussed by me for a quarter of a 
century; and have all made up their minds. Those who 
intend to stand by slavery have already joined the rebel 
army ; and those who remain will stand by the Union at 
all events. Not a man of intelligence will change his 
ground." 

Lincoln then said: "The Kentucky Legislature is now 
in session. Go down, and see how they stand, and report 
to me. 'J 

So at once I set out ; making a diversion by speaking a 
few times, in the North, as a paid lecturer, thus to raise 
money for my expenses which I really needed, and to cover 
the purpose of my tour. 

When I reached Lexington, Kirby Smith was marching 
upon my county town, Richmond; and General Lew. Wal- 
lace was in command of the Union forces. I suggested 
that the defense against those veteran troops should be 
made on the bluffs of the Kentucky River; that the passes 
were few, and easy of defense. This I knew from long 
observation in fishing in that river, from the three forks to 
the mouth. Wallace then asked me to take charge of the 
troops — infantry and artillery — and make the defense as I 
thought best. To this I consented ; and the result is best 
shown by the following letter: 

Cassius M. Clay — Interesting Communication Relative to his Connec- 
tion with General Nelson. 

To the Editor of the Courier-Journal — 

White Hall P. O., Madison County, Ky., April 9, 1878. — 
In your journal of the 6th instant is a letter of General M. D. 
Manson, about the battle of Richmond, in which my name is 
mentioned ; and, to avoid misconstruction, I beg leave to say a 
few words in regard to my connection with General Nelson's com- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 3II 

mand. Whilst a Major-General of Volunteers of the United 
States, I had been ordered by President Lincoln on a secret mis- 
sion to Kentucky, the Legislature being then in session, to sound 
the public sentiment of this State in regard to a proclamation of 
the freedom of all the slaves captured in war, or escaped from 
the belligerent armies of the South, as well as to use my discre- 
tion on the subject of slavery generally. I reached Lexington on 
the 23d of August, 1862 (following General Manson's data), where 
I found General L. Wallace in command, as I supposed, of the 
corps d'annee intended to repel the advance of Gen. Kirby Smith, 
then reported to be approaching Richmond, my county town, by 
way of the eastern border — the "Big Hill." General Wallace 
asked me to take command, being my senior, in his stead, as I 
was better posted with regard to the locality than he. To this 
I promptly acceded. I borrowed a sword and pistols, and at once, 
on Sunday, took command of the infantry and a small battery of 
artillery, marched them till near nightfall toward Richmond, and 
encamped near Robert Wickliffe's farm, about three miles from 
Lexington. The troops were very raw, and not yet subjected to 
rigid military order; but the next day, the 25th, the weather being 
extremely warm, I moved the troops very cautiously, often resting 
them, and taking up the foot-sore on the cannon-carriages and 
wagons. Near night, as I was about posting the troops for the 
night, and making a defense of the north bank of the Kentucky 
River, where the passes were few and unknown to the enemy, 
and where I could have made raw troops as effective as veterans, 
and, as I now believe, could have repulsed the force of Smith, 
General Nelson rode up and relieved me from the command. So 
I went home that night, and next day, the 25th, reported myself 
to General Nelson, at his head-quarters at Richmond, expecting, 
as we were old, intimate friends, to be invited to a position, at 
least, upon his staff; but, disappointed in this, I returned home, 
and started for Frankfort on the 27th of August, where, addressing 
the Legislature in the Hall of the House of Representatives, I 
urged the views which I had pressed upon the President with 
almost unanimous success. My speech was reported by the steno- 
grapher of the Cincinnati Gazette, and published in full in that 
journal in 1862. 

I know nothing of the controversy between the parties about 
General Nelson's conduct on the battle-ground. I was told, on my 
return from Europe in 1869, by Major Green Clay, that he took 




312 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

General Nelson, after he was wounded, on horseback through by- 
ways to Jessamine County. 

In justice to General Nelson, I want to say that I believe he 
was a brave, and not a bad-hearted man. His schooling in the 
navy unfitted him for the command of volunteers, where persua- 
sion and kindness must be used in connection with firmness. Let 
us all cast the mantle of charity over the faults of a man whose 
patriotism and courage have never been questioned. Truly, 

CM. Clay. 

Smith having defeated Nelson (August 30), I returned 
by way of Cincinnati to Washington, handed a copy of my 
speech to Lincoln, and made a verbal report of my visit 
to the State of Kentucky and the Kentucky Legislature. 
Lincoln said but little; but, on the 2 2d day of September, 
1862, issued his immortal Proclamation of Freedom for the 
slaves in all the rebel States. 

Thus my good star stood high in the heavens ; and 
whilst my enemies sought by unworthy means my ruin, I 
seemed by Providence to have been called for the culmi- 
nating act of my life's aspirations. 

A letter, written and published about this time by Prof. 
A. W. Blinn,(with myself and others, my friends, the sub- 
jects,) may with propriety be introduced here : 

Political Recollections by Professor A. IV. Blinu. 

CASSIUS M. CLAY. 

The character and deeds of the noble are the heritage of the 
world. The race is wiser and nobler for the heroism of Leonidas, 
the patriotism of Algernon Sidney, and the incorruptible integrity 
of Washington. In counting over the heroes of the nineteenth 
century, posterity will not forget the name of Cassius M. Clay. 
Born in affluence, surrounded by the prejudices of slavery, reared 
amid its perverting and blinding influences, with every worldly 
motive pressing him to follow the popular tide ; yet, in spite of 
all these, in young manhood he laid all upon the altar of duty 
and patriotism, and consecrated his life to freedom. 

He graduated early at Yale College. How much of his love 
of freedom and hatred of slavery he derived from his free associa- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 3 I 3 

tions there, I do not know. Certainly he had the germ of 
nobility in him — the free air of New England may have had some 
influence in developing its power. Certain it is that he entered 
upon active life with all the holy fervor of a Wilberforce, and 
the martyr intrepidity of a Sidney and a Lovejoy. He declared 
for freedom, for Kentucky, and the Nation. 

A very hasty survey will show that this was a position of 
great daring — emphatically a position that "tried men's souls." 
Slavery was strongly intrenched in Kentucky, and in nearly half 
the States of the Union. It was intrenched in some of the 
"Compromises of the Constitution," in some of the laws of Con- 
gress, in the statutes of many of the States, and more in the 
property interest, and the political influence which it exercised 
in the government. It was thus a utilizing interest, uniting a 
class into a powerful oligarchy — so powerful as to control the 
Government, State and National. Thus we had a powerful and 
proud aristocracy in this Republic, bound together by common 
interests and conventionalities. 

Mr. Clay rose up against this aristocracy; broke from, and 
defied all its conventionalities. And it was no small thing. He 
broke the laws of Caste. He took his life in his hand. His foes 
were they of his own household. Almost every earthly friend for- 
sook him. He stood, like Luther, amid the surging storms of 
fanaticism and madness; like Algernon Sidney, against the leagued 
powers of despotism, and, for long years, he stood alone. Well 
he learned the meaning of the poet: 

" But thou who enterest on the sterner strife 

For truths which men receive not now, 
Thy warfare only ends with life. 

A fearful warfare, raging long, 
Through weary day and weary year; 

A wild and many-weaponed throng 
Hangs on thy front, and flank, and rear." 

He informed me that, for more than thirty years, there was 
scarcely a night that he did not expect an attack, — that he did 
not expect violence, and, perhaps, death. He grew familiar with 
danger. The fastidious critic may say that he too often provoked 
it. Perhaps so did Luther. He did not always measure, with 
nice exactness, his words. His noble sense of right, and indigna- 
tion at wrong, flowed out in burning words, like the pent-up fires 
of Vesuvius. If they kindled a conflagration, the responsibility 



314 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

was with those who had built up systems of wrong upon hay and 
stubble. Such impetuous souls are necessary in such times. 

The gentle spirit of Melancthon and Erasmus would never have 
achieved the reformation. William Lloyd Garrison performed the 
same noble function in the Free States. Clay's and Garrison's 
noble rage brought the Slave-Power to bay, and aroused the ener- 
gies of freedom. Well I hear the clear ring of Mr. Clay's voice, 
amid that fearful din of battle: "For God and the Right!" Well 
I recall the noble words of counsel and warning through his True 
American; and the shame and sorrow that filled millions of hearts 
on hearing that a mob had destroyed that free press. Truth 
seemed to be crushed to earth, but it soon rose again; and the 
same brave voice continued to ring through the State and the 
Nation. His name was thence a synonym for heroism. 

Mr. Clay's course in the Mexican War surprised most of his 
admirers ; yet, I believe, few questioned the integrity of his mo- 
tives. His subsequent course attested his unwavering adhesion to 
principle. I believe that Mr. Clay was among the foremost to 
urge upon Mr. Lincoln the measure of Emancipation. 

One particular incident in Mr. Clay's later life I have marked 
as illustrating the fearlessness of his character, and his readiness to 
go where duty called. 

During the exciting canvass of i860, he spoke from the steps 
of the State-House, in Frankfort, amid the darkness of night — a 
mark for many who had sought his life. But Kentuckians are 
too brave to shoot a man in the dark. I believe he spoke after- 
ward in the State-House to both branches of the Legislature, by 
their invitation. 

In brilliance of eloquence and power to command men, he was 
not equal to his illustrious relative, Henry Clay; but in breadth 
of views and statesmanship, he was his superior. He had too 
wide a discernment of moral causes and effects to be deceived 
with the sophistry that a compromise with slavery would restore 
harmony between the sections of the Union. 

This allusion to my advocacy of freedom, and my in- 
fluence with Lincoln, is valuable, as I have not been able 
to get a copy of my speech of August, 1862, before the 
Legislature in session at Frankfort, Kentucky. 

On the 13th of September, 1862, I received the fol- 
lowing : 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 315 

Head-quarters of the Army, 
Adjutant-General's Office, Washington, Sept. 12, 1862. 
Special Orders No. 235 (Extract). 

* * * * * 

3. Major-General Cassius M. Clay, U. S. Volunteers, is assigned 
to duty in the Department of the Gulf, and will report to Major- 
General Butler. 

* * * * >|c 

By command of Major-General Halleck. 

E. D. Townsend, 
Gen. Clay. Assistant Adjutant- General. 

This order I took next day to Lincoln, who immediately 
sat down and wrote the following counter order: 

Executive Mansion, Washington, Sept. 14, 1862. 
Major-General C. M. Clay — 

Dear Sir : — You need not proceed to New Orleans until you 
hear from me again. I have an understanding with the Secretary 
of War and General Halleck on this subject. Yours truly, 

A. Lincoln. 

Finally I sent in my resignation, as follows : 

Washington, D. C, Sept. 29, 1862. 
His Excellency, A. Lincoln, President — 

Sir : — I hereby resign my commission as Major-General of 
Volunteers in the United States service, to take effect upon the 
resignation of Simon Cameron, Esq., as Minister Plenipotentiary 
to Russia. 

I do this to avail myself of your promise to send me back to 
my former mission at the court of St. Petersburg, where, I flat- 
ter myself, I can better serve my country than in the field, under 
General Halleck, who can not repress his hatred of liberal men 
into the ordinary courtesies of life. 

I am truly, your obedient servant, 

C. M. Clay. 

Thus it will be seen that Lincoln promptly overset the 
scheme of sending me to New Orleans, where the yellow 



316 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

fever was prevailing, in the heat of September; and where, 
no doubt, I, who had wintered in the cold climate of Rus- 
sia, would have fallen a victim to that epidemic. Besides, 
all my friends thought me a better general than my old 
friend, General Butler, who showed so much genius in 
other respects. I was not advised what I was to do ; 
and the whole proceeding was so unfriendly that no one 
thought I could ever have a fair field under Stanton and 
Halleck's rule. So, thus timely relieved, I waited patiently 
till Lincoln could advise with Cameron, and determine defi- 
nitely about my return to Russia. 



CHAPTER XVII, 



Policy of Reconstruction denounced. — Letter to Geo. D. Prentice to that 
effect. — Interview with Stanton. — Letter from W. W. Seaton. — Let- 
ter from Stanton. — I meet James A. Garfield. — Letters from S. P. 
Chase. — Henry Bergh as my Secretary of Legation. — I speak, on in- 
vitation, at Albany, New York. — My Speech, refused publication in 
the leading newspapers, I publish it as a pamphlet. — I return to Russia. 
Letter from Bayard Taylor. — Bismarck. — The Duke of Montebello. — 
Lord Napier. — Nihilism. — Alexander II. — T. Morris Chester. — Received 
a guest at Gatchina Palace. — My estimate of the Emperor, Alexan- 
der II. — His Portrait. — Letters from Prince Gortchacow. 



NOW, for the first time, it began to be discussed — as 
the tide of battle, after the Proclamation, turned in 
our favor — what shall be done with the conquered States? 
Sumner, Stevens, and others, were for that fatal policy 
which brought us ten years of peace more disastrous, if 
possible, than the four years of war. I held, with Wash- 
ington, that, the rebellion being put down, the States sur- 
vived. As I put it, " If one loyal man survived, he was 
the State." This was the sentiment of Lincoln, also; as 
well as of John J. Crittenden, who had been twice Attor- 
ney-General of the United States. (See his unpublished 
resolutions in "Life," etc., Vol. II.) . 

The same sentiment was expressed in my letter, * in 
1866, from St. Petersburg, to the Louisville Journal; and 

* LETTER OF CASSIUS M. CLAY. 

St. Petersburg, Russia, March 13, 1866. 
Dear Sir : — I deem it my duty to denounce the course of 
Sumner and Stevens. If one man remains loyal, he ts the State. 

I stand by the President's veto of the Freedmen's Bureau bill. 
Let the States give the freedmen all civil rights, and by degrees 

317 



3 I 8 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

the same year the Republican Convention in Frankfort, 
Kentucky, re-asserted the same principles. 

The result of the Sumner policy was the intensifying 
the feeling of hatred between the South and the North, 
and the two races every-where. The sequence was that, 
whereas there was only eleven States against the Union 
at the peace, there are now, as I foretold, sixteen States 
solid against the Republican Party. 

The breach between me and Sumner was yet more 
widened by this divergence of Southern policy. As the 
sessions of the Senate were secret, I do not know whether 
he opposed my confirmation or not, but I have reason to 
believe that he did, as some New England members voted 
against me ; whilst the New York Times, Seward's paper, 
the Tribune, and the National Intelligencer, all opposed 
me. So my nomination was secured by the votes of 
Garrett Davis, Andrew Johnson, and other Southern 
Union Senators. Hon. James S. Rollins, then member 
of Congress from Missouri, aided me much? Mr. Seward 
and Thurlow Weed entered the lobby of the Senate 
against me, but I had the pleasure of defeating* their 

extend to them the right of suffrage. Or else let an amendment 
of the Constitution make one rule of suffrage for all the States. 
This attempt of Congress to interfere with the right of the States, 
after the war-power ceases, is an usurpation of power unknown to 
the Constitution, and subversive of the whole theory of Repub- 
licanism, as based on the old Constitution of the United States, f 

Your obedient servant, 

C. M. Clay. 
Geo. D. Prentice, Esq., 
Louisville, Ky. 

t These sentiments and policy were, to the letter, asserted in a Convention of 
the Republicans of Kentucky in Frankfort. See resolutions published in the Com- 
monwealth, 1866. — C, 1885. 

* Among many letters of congratulation on my triumph, I pub- 
lish this one from a long-standing opponent. Seaton had pub- 
lished, in the National Intelligencer, a severe editorial against my 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 319 

enmity ; the border States supplying any votes lost to me 
from the North. 

I had no reason to like Stanton ; and the feeling be- 
tween us finally came to words. There was a Southerner 
taken in New York by Stanton's secret police, and brought 
to Washington a prisoner. Many of my friends, without 
regard to party, interceded for the man, and asked my in- 
fluence in his behalf. They thought, as there seemed to 
be no proof of his having committed any legal offense, 
that he should be set at liberty. I went reluctantly to 
Stanton, and laid the case before him. He, in an insolent 
tone, said : "It is a pretty state of affairs, when men ot 
your position, with the commission of a Foreign Minister 
in your pocket, should be found interceding for the lib- 
eration of traitors." 

I said: "I will let you know that I am your equal, 
and care no more for your opinions than those of any 
other citizen. There are ten millions of men in rebellion. 
Do you expect to execute them all? Or, rather, is not 
the war to be put down by judicious clemency, as well as 
force?" And, so saying, I took up my hat, and retired. 

re-appointment to Russia. In calling on him to have my reply 
inserted, a pleasant conversation ensued, and a box of Havanas 
was lost by me on a wager; and the sending of the same was 
the cause of this note: 

Washington, March 15, 1863. 
My Dear General Clay: — I have had the pleasure to receive, 
with your kind note, the box of superb cigars which you have sent 
me to make good your wager. General, during my long life, I 
have always felt, whenever I have been fortunate enough to con- 
ceive a fresh esteem, that a flower had been cast in my path ; and, 
as you and I shall never see each other, probably, again, I wish to 
say to you, that as much as we differ on some things, your deport- 
ment during the last ten days has won my esteem. Whenever I 
smoke one of your regalias, I shall doubtless think of you ; and 
with many a whiff, believe me, will go up a sincere wish for your 
honor and happiness. W. W. Seaton. 



320 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

In a few days, having occasion to call his attention to 
the case of Edward McMurdy, who caused me to lose so 
much money, in New York, in i869-'70, I re-asserted my 
idea of public policy, but expressed regret at any personal 
difference between us ; as I believed he was, at least, pat- 
riotic, and I appreciated the difficulties of his position. He 
responded in the subjoined letter: 

War Department, Washington City, Feb. 25, 1863. 

General : — I do not think there is any material difference be- 
tween us in respect to the duty of the Government, on the subject 
referred to in your note just received. The only point of difference, 
perhaps, is as to the point of time and the manner of application. 

For your confidence and support I am thankful, and the senti- 
ment is fully reciprocated. Of my failings and short-comings I am 
conscious, and deeply regret them when they give offense to friends 
whose regard I esteem. 

The case of McMurdy, referred to, I do not remember; and 
will be happy to have any information concerning it you may be 
pleased to communicate, and will be happy to correct any injustice 
that may have been done. 

It will give me pleasure to see you at any time, and trust you 
will give me an opportunity of doing so before you leave the 
country. With great respect, I am, yours truly, 

Edward M. Stanton. 

This was manly. I saw no more of Stanton. Other 
citizens, whose good faith I could count upon, from Ken- 
tucky, were liberated from prison by me, through direct 
appeal to Lincoln. Among these were Jacob Hostetter, 
John George, and Chis. Gouge. For such was the hu- 
manity of the President, that he was ever pleased when 
he could find a case for justifiable clemency. * 

* When I spoke at Cleveland, Ohio, in the canvass of 1884, in 
favor of Blaine and Logan, John Hay, Mr. Lincoln's former private 
secretary, who had married there, presided over the vast Repub- 
lican meeting. Next day, with some friends, we were naturally 
talking over Mr. Lincoln's personal character, when Mr. Hay told 
the following characteristic anecdote : 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 32 I 

Mrs. Lincoln, who was the daughter of my old and 
tried friend, Robert Todd, of Lexington, Kentucky, told 
me that they had no confidence whatever in Mr. Seward's 
friendship, and that I need not fear his influence against 
me ; that Mr. Lincoln only tolerated him for political rea- 
sons. I visited Lincoln often, at the White House, and 
the Soldiers' Home ; and left him in much better spirits 
than when I first arrived in Washington. 

Whilst at Chase's home, as his guest, General James 
A. Garfield was there, also, a few days. I found him a 
very agreeable companion, and formed a favorable opinion 
of his abilities. 

It need fairly be said that I believed Chase to be, on 
the whole, the ablest and most patriotic of Lincoln's 
cabinet; and to him, next to the President, the country 
is indebted for the salvation of the Republic. But his 
talents were not more important than his unquestioned 
integrity, which enabled him to hold the entire confidence 
of the United States, and of the world, in all his financial 
measures. 

Before I left New York, a gentleman, who had much 
cultivated my acquaintance on a convivial occasion, ven- 
tured to do me the poor compliment of saying: "Clay, 
you and Chase are life-long friends ; and we all know 
your intimate relations with him. Now, you can do me 
a great favor, which would not hurt the public interest, 
if you could communicate to me when the Secretary will 
make some new move in the money-market." I replied: 

' ' One day a school-fellow of mine got into a bad scrape, and 
was condemned to death. I appealed to Mr. Lincoln for a pardon, 
and told him of my early associations with the unfortunate man. 
Mr. Lincoln, without a word, sat down to his desk, and began 
writing, and then said: 'You say, Mr. Hay, that your friend was a 
good fellow?' 'No,' said I, 'Mr. Lincoln, I must say, in all truth, 
that he was quite the contrary.' 'Well,' said Lincoln, 'then he is 
too bad to die!' and so he went on and wrote the pardon." — C, 
1885. 

Vol. I. — 21 



322 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

"You are right in the estimate of my friendship for the 
Secretary of the Treasury ; but I can not agree with you 
in your idea that divulging his financial secrets would not 
be injurious to the public interests ; and I assure you that 
any suggestion in that direction would be an insult to 
Chase, which would make us enemies for life." 

The following letters, from Salmon P. Chase, I loaned 
to a friend some years ago; and only now (November, 
1885,) have been able to recover them. The intrinsic 
value and patriotic spirit of the man who was second only 
to Lincoln in the salvation of the Union, more than its 
complimentary appreciation of myself, induces me now to 
insert them, out of their proper sequence in time: 

Columbus, May 30, i860. 

My Dear Clay: — You were not more surprised than I was 
that you received no votes at Chicago from the Ohio delegation. 
It was not, however, the only respect in which that delegation dis- 
appointed my expectations, as well as those of a large majority of 
the Republicans of Ohio. Having received, myself, an unusually 
unanimous and emphatic preference from the Republican State 
Convention, when called to appoint delegates to the National Con- 
vention, I desired, of course, the earnest support of the Ohio dele- 
gation. It would have been gratifying to me, had that support 
been given ; and had it, at any time, become evident that a ma- 
jority of the Convention could not be brought to harmonize, in 
judgment and action, with our delegation, I should have been 
pleased if you could have received the suffrages previously given 
to me. For, while I supposed that Mr. Seward and Mr. Lincoln, 
as well as yourself, had friends in the delegation, who would pre- 
fer one or the other, according to individual judgment, in case of 
the withdrawal of my name, it did seem to me that you united 
elements of character, ability, and popularity which would make 
you an available candidate ; whilst your early, continued, and de- 
voted service to the cause gave you claims over the preference of 
your old co-laborers, which no true-hearted man could fail to ap- 
preciate. 

But our delegation, because of some incurable intolerance of a 
very few, but chiefly in consequence of the bringing forward Mr. 
Wade's name in conflict with mine, in disregard of the action of 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 323 

our Convention, was divided and powerless from the start, and noth- 
ing was done as it should have been done. It is a wonder to me 
that any delegates from other States gave me support after our own 
delegation exhibited its incompetency to lead as it should have led 
in my behalf; and I am exceedingly grateful to the noble and gen- 
erous men from Kentucky, who made good in part their default. 

While I should have rejoiced in your nomination to the first 
office, however, I confess I cared little to see you named for the 
second at this time. The Vice-Presidency is a post of little influ- 
ence, or responsibility, and not the post for you, if a better could 
be had ; but a better can be had, if we succeed, for I doubt not 
you will be called to take part in the administration, as a mem- 
ber of the cabinet. 

As for myself, I shall make it my business hereafter to repress 
aspiration. It would have been entirely satisfactory to me to see 
my political life closed with my gubernatorial term. I made no 
canvass for election to the Senate, but left that matter, as well as 
every other concerning myself, to the unprompted action of the 
Republicans. As they have thought fit to place me in the Senate, 
I shall, if my life is continued, take my seat there to fulfill my 
duty. I desire no other fate, and shall seek no other, unless cir- 
cumstances fully change. 

As to your own future, it can not be brighter than I wish it. 
It has never been my desire that your name should not be brought 
forward for nomination, because my own chanced to be ; nor did 
I suppose, until I received your letter, that you felt any obligation 
to give preference either to Mr. Seward or myself. I know noth- 
ing which could create such obligation. It is hardly likely that 
my name will ever be mentioned again in connection with the 
Presidency. If it should be so mentioned, and yours should be 
also proposed, and the preference awarded to it, be assured, my 
friend, I shall rejoice in the honor awarded as if it were given to 
a brother. 

Our present duty is with the present. The Convention, if it 
has disappointed some hopes, has given us an excellent candidate 
and an excellent platform. Let us do our uttermost to sustain 
both. Ohio will, I think, do her duty, as usual ; and I hope that 
Kentucky will give us, if not her electoral suffrage, yet such a 
popular vote that it will be clear to all men that the spell of the 
Slave-Power is broken forever. Write me often. Faithfully, your 
friend. S. P. Chase. 



324 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Columbus, January 26, 1861. 

Dear Clay : — For the sake of our organization, for the sake 
of our cause, for the sake of your own future, for the sake of our 
country, give no sanction to the scheme for the admission of New 
Mexico as a slave State, as the amendment to the Constitution 
makes its future amendment, in respect to slaves, dependent on 
the unanimous consent of all the States. We want no compro- 
mises now, and no compromisers. The Constitution is outraged, 
the Union defied and broken, the laws despised and disregarded. 
Let these wrongs be remedied before one tittle of adjustment. Let 
us wait, at least, until Mr. Lincoln is inaugurated and surrounded 
by a Republican administration, before we attempt to bring forward 
measures which will commit and divide the Republican Party. 

I wrote you at White Hall, in reply to your last letter. What 
I said of you to Mr. Lincoln, as stated in that letter, was based on 
my belief that you, last of all men, would recommend the sur- 
render, by compromises, of the victory we had won even before 
the organization of the administration which it called to power. 

Faithfully, your friend, 
Col. C. M. Clay. S. P. Chase. 

Whilst I was willing to be spoken of as a possible 
candidate for the Presidency, I sought neither the first 
nor second office. To me the final triumph of my prin- 
ciples was of more worth than elevation to office ; and I 
thought Lincoln and Chase, and, at one time, Seward, 
could rally a large organized party of personal and polit- 
ical followers, which was not probable with my name at 
the head. For I had begun already to feel what Lincoln 
said in 1862, that reformers incurred enmities which were 
too strong for life-time elevation. And enmities, alas! 
are more potent in human affairs than friendships and 
gratitude. 

It was the policy of my enemies, of the " Bluff Ben. 
Wade" type, to cry out against me "compromise" and 
of my Southern foes "ultraism." Fortunately for me, my 
speech at this time, herein reported, shows my true posi- 
tion. Those who care to read it will find that, whilst 
apparently conceding some rights, it claimed concessions 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 325 

from the South, which no man knew, so well as I, would 
never be made. Events had placed me in the leadership, 
and I challenge criticism as to the lofty and impregnable 
grounds upon which I placed the battle for the life of the 
Republic. The rush of events prevented any reply to 
this letter; and indorsed on the back in my name I find — 
' 'No Comprom ise ! ' ' 

Seward, defeated in his personal enmity (by calling T. 
Weed to Washington to lobby against me), and, which 
was more, defeated in his pro-slavery policy, continued 
his malice against me, and refused to advance any part 
of my salary ; so I had to borrow money of private citi- 
zens to get off once more to Russia. It is true that the 
law does not allow such advance ; but I was told that, 
nevertheless, such advance was often made. 

Henry Bergh (my nephew, Green Clay, preferring 
southern Europe), was made Secretary of Legation, but, 
being soon dissatisfied, he returned to the United States ; 
and is noted since for his humanitarian labors, though 
his Society was begun for the prevention of " Cruelty to 
Animals," — in itself, in truth, humanizing. 

My speeches at Frankfort, Ky., and New York City, 
and especially at Albany, N. Y., on February 3, 1863, 
attracted general attention and comment in the press. 
The speech at Frankfort went, through the Cincinnati 
Gazette, over all the Union. As Seward and Weed were 
against the policy, my friends in Albany, Weed's resi- 
dence, through the Law-Class of the University of that 
city, invited me to deliver my Frankfort speech there 
also, avowedly to counteract their unpatriotic influence. I 
cheerfully yielded, and made the speech, which will be 
published in Volume II. of this work. 

I was ahead of my party, as usual ; and neither the 
Herald, Post, Tribune, or the Times would publish my 
speech for love or money. As Bayard Taylor, of the 
Tribune, was Charge a" Affaires at St. Petersburg, my old 
friend Greeley, though earnestly asked, refused to publish 



326 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

it. So I went to a job-printer, and had it printed at my 
own expense, and distributed to all the leading news- 
papers in the United States. I sent a copy to Lord 
Palmerston, the reception of which he politely acknowl- 
edged. And in Russia it was translated into their lan- 
guage, and distributed by thousands all over the Empire ; 
for the Czar was engaged in the same cause at home, 
and the arguments were good in both nations. * 

Disgusted with England's enmity to our cause, I took 
a Bremen steamer; and, without incident, arrived safely at 
St. Petersburg once more. 

As Cameron, finding that he could not beat me before 
the Senate on his return home, had resigned, Taylor was 
Charge a" Affaires at the imperial city when I arrived. 
The intrigues of these gentlemen to beat me would afford 
an interesting chapter in these Memoirs ; but, as I find 
my material growing too large, I pass on. 

* As I have given the congratulatory letter of Seaton, I venture 
to publish one (among many received from other sources,) by a 
patriotic lady: 

Schenectady, N. Y. , March 21, 1863. 

My Dear Mr. Clay : — Your most kind letter was forwarded to 
me from New York, and was, I need scarcely say, received with 
great pleasure. I write to thank you for it, and to say how much 
I regret that our sudden departure from New York should have 
prevented my seeing you again, perhaps, in a less formal way than 
as an entire stranger. My father came from his tiresome duties in 
Congress ill, and continued so, that for his sake we were compelled 
to seek a friendly atmosphere, which we hoped would break the 
daily access of fever. It has done so, thank God. 

I congratulate you most heartily on your late triumph. Need I 
assure you I watched with anxiety the result of all the opposition 
which assailed your late appointment, and greatly rejoiced, not only 
for yourself, but because I am glad, for my poor country's sake, 
when an out-spoken man gets a place of honor and power. We 
have, alas ! so many who are cowards at heart, and get places 
meanly by being non-committal. 

Your dear words I shall cherish ; and when you are far away 
over the great deep sea, and among people of another and a 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 327 

Cameron and Taylor, on my leaving St. Petersburg, 
never had any expectation of ever seeing me there again ; 
so, without leave, they had taken possession of my two 
carriages, which I had left with my chasseur, John, and 
used up one of them ; and this, added to my other griev- 
ances, left me in no very good humor when I called upon 
the Secretary. But Taylor accepted his defeat with good 
grace ; and paid me at once full value for my carriage, as 

strange tongue, I shall think of you in your new duties, and pray 
for your success and happiness. May you never know, in that far- 
off land, "the heart of a stranger." 

My parents join me in most cordial compliments. I beg, dear 
Mr. Clay, to write myself, Your young friend, 

M. S. D. 
Hon. Cassius M. Clay. 

I call this quite a good lesson in patriotism from one so young. 
My lady readers will want to know something more about this 
romantic affair. Yes? Well, whilst I was awaiting orders in New 
York City — the instructions from Seward, which never came — I 
was a guest at the St. Nicholas Hotel. In the ladies' ordinary, 
where I always ate, of course, I happened to sit near an intelli- 
gent middle-aged lady, with a beautiful girl at her side, appa- 
rently not sixteen. I being a politician, the mother — for so she 
was — began a common-place conversation with me, which grew 
to me more and more agreeable ; for I found the girl was inter- 
ested with my words also, though too young to suggest an intro- 
duction. So thus we met, at all our meals, for many, many days., 
without a single word from the young patriot. She was a native 
of Massachusetts, but educated from early girlhood in England, 
and had just returned home, as I afterward learned. As I came 
to be more and more interested in these people, coming in one 
day, as usual, I found their seats vacant. So, knowing the ad- 
dress, I wrote a polite note to the mother ; and, in a postscript, 
asked a photograph of the correspondent, which she sent me to 
Russia. Now, my fair readers will understand the accidental allu- 
sion to "the heart of a stranger." We never spoke to each other 
for long years; and that young face looks down on me from my 
library-walls as I write, coming through all these years unchanged 
by time ; but, alas ! we are changed ! 



328 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

he said, for both himself and Cameron. He had taken a 
much better house than the one I had left them in ; and 
was, of course, anxious to get it off his hands. So I laid 
aside my ill-humor, took his house, and entered into cor- 
dial relations with him. Mrs. Taylor was a German 
woman, and had set out for her own home ; so I never 
met her. 

As some of Taylor's friends have been desirous of 
placing him in the attitude of superior service to the Re- 
public, and to crown his brow with laurels which I hon- 
estly won, I can say truly that, in all the time I was in 
St. Petersburg, I never heard his name mentioned in any 
way ; and the reasons are not so much in a want of cul- 
ture and character on the part of Taylor, as in the Rus- 
sian ideas of sentiment and policy. 

There are but two general classes in Russia: the No- 
bles and the Military, on one side, and the Commonalty 
on the other. Taylor, whatever his merit, was ranked with 
the latter class, and regarded as an adventurer — a style 
of person most distasteful to Russians. So, when, on 
Carl Schurz's return from Spain home, it was said that 
he would probably be sent to Russia, Gortchacow said 
to me, with some warmth. "We are glad to have you, 
an American, back again with us ; but we do not want 
Europeans, or men of European connections, to come 
among us." 

This, if it did not embrace Schurz, at least included 
Taylor, who had married a German wife. And Gortcha- 
cow, being of the old Russian birth and party, regarded 
Germany with great distrust, in spite of his love of his 
Emperor, who was part German in blood. This is all I 
have to say about Taylor, or his work. * 

* LETTER OF BAYARD TAYLOR. 

Gotha, Germany, June 16, 1863. 
My Dear Sir: — Many thanks for the forwarding the dispatch. 
All the German papers are publishing the substance 
of Prince Gortchacow's note to you, in answer to Mr. Seward's 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 329 

In court circles, dress is of great importance. In that 
ancient aristocracy, the families had not only distinct 
"coats of arms," upon which were wrought their insig- 
nia, but the whole dress, including the breeches, or pan- 
taloons, were wrought by skilled workmen ; so that the 
dress of the men was as varied in color and ornament 
as that of the women themselves. One can well imagine, 
then, how the claw-hammered dress-coat and white cravat 
would stand out ridiculously eccentric in such an assem- 
blage of gay suits and military trappings. The Russian 
servants, even, are better dressed ; and the black suit was 
mostly seen in the cafes and private houses of foreigners. 
To avoid this, as no law governs the subject, I first 
dressed in my Colonel's uniform, having held that rank in 
Kentucky. This was well received ; but the belt of 
patent-leather is also used by the rank and file of the 
Russian regiments. On my. return, I wore the uniform 
of my rank, as Major-General, which the act of Congress 
allowed, and which every-where is a handsome and taste- 
ful dress ; and, on that occasion, I wore the elegant sword 
given me by the citizens of Kentucky, which was made 
by the Tiffanys, and handsomely set with jewels. So, 
when I returned into the social circles of the capital, the 
opinion prevailed that I had gone to America to increase 

reply to France. I am very glad that we are so soon able to 
repay Russia so promptly and consistently. This note of the prince 

will have an excellent effect I am convinced that you 

are right about Halleck ; and that he is the principal stumbling- 
block in the way of our rapid triumph To show you 

that you are not the only one whom the newspapers at home 
abuse unjustly, I quote the following from the Philadelphia Press: 
"Bayard Taylor has been removed from the post of Secretary of 
Legation at St. Petersburg in consequence of having allowed his 
name to go before the Senate in opposition to Mr. Clay." . . . 

Very truly yours, 

Bayard Taylor. 
Hon. C. M. Clay, etc., 
St. Petersburg, Russia. 



330 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

my rank ; and which was considered evidence of the 
greater confidence of my Government. So Seward, in- 
stead of injuring me, had put quite a feather in my cap ; 
which feather I much needed, as my chasseur, John, 
said, Cameron had taken my former ostrich plume ! But, 
as I was fairly paid for the carriage, I claimed nothing 
more. 

The Emperor received me with great warmth ; and my 
Albany speech, translated into Russian, and so widely 
circulated, proved that he indorsed my views. I was 
made honorary member of many social clubs and lite- 
rary and scientific societies in the Empire. 

During my first term, Bismarck was the Prussian Min- 
ister Plenipotentiary at St. Petersburg. He had not then 
attained fame ; but I well remember his large, fine figure, 
and dignified but polite bearing. He was, even then, re- 
garded as a man of ability. On my return, he had been 
recalled, and made Premier at Berlin, where he has since 
so greatly advanced the Prussian dynasty. 

The British Empire was represented by Lord Napier 
as Embassador, Spain by the Duke d'Osuna, and France 
by the Duke of Montebello ; all the other nations having 
only Plenipotentiaries. 

All European governments, but that of Russia, were 
inimical to the Union, and were rather cold in their inter- 
course with me. They thought the great Republic was 
lost, and they could not conceal their satisfaction. This 
brought me more in contact with the Russian nation, and 
greatly aided me in that friendly sympathy which saved 
the Republic. 

Before I left for America the first time, although his 
duchess had entertained Mrs. Clay and family, and re- 
turned her call, the Duke of Montebello failed, through 
thoughtlessness, or discourtesy, to return my call. I did 
not intend to pass such neglect without resenting it. So, 
after waiting a sufficient time for the action of the French 
Embassador, on the occasion of the state dinner given 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 33 1 

at the residence of Khalil Bey, the Turkish Minister, at 
which all the diplomatic corps and the leading Russian 
officials were present — when the wine began to flow 
freely — I asked to have the glasses filled, and proposed 
"The friendship of the English races and the Russian 
Empire." This was out of order; but something must be 
done to cure the other slight, which was out of order, 
also. 

This toast included Napier, though he was, of course, 
our enemy ; but it was Montebello to whom I directed 
my slight, and my eyes. Napier sat to my left, where 
I could hardly see his movements ; but I think he 
raised his glass only to his lips, and set it down full. 
Nor did I care for the sensibilities of the other Lega- 
tions, all being against us. But the Russians, who 
grasped the situation, were pleased to the heart; and 
drained their glasses to the bottom. 

The next day the Duke of Montebello came with a 
card (not a challenge) of a return visit. I met his car- 
riage as I rode out, so I did not see him in person. He 
had concluded, I suppose, that it was easier to be courte- 
ous than to have a fight with a western barbarian. 

On my return to Russia, the Embassador of France 
was Baron de Talleyrand, the descendant of the Prince 
Talleyrand of Napoleon's times. And Napier was soon 
succeeded by Sir Andrew Buchanan, a fine old Scotch- 
man with royal blood in his veins. He had known Mr. 
and Mrs. William Preston, of Kentucky, at Madrid, and 
spoke often of them. Mrs. Preston was Miss M. Wick- 
liffe. During my whole term he was on cordial terms 
with me ; and, just on the eve of my final departure, he 
dined me at his country-house, with some of the most 
distinguished Russians, among whom were Prince Barrat- 
niski and Mademoiselle the Princess Suwarrow. And, 
although much may be said of John Bull's jealousy of 
America, it can not be denied that, "Of all people," as 
Emerson has it, "the English stand squarest in their 



332 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

shoes." They are slow to form friendships, but are 
equally tenacious of them ; and not at all driven about 
by foolish gossip, and weak suspicions. They base their 
esteem more upon character than cleverness ; and are 
generally in all things honest. 

All over Europe sour oranges are sold for sweet, if 
you are not on the alert. At Southampton, our ship 
touching for a short time to coal and provision, I ran 
ashore to buy a few oranges, which had to be done 
quickly, as the steamer was about to be off. There was 
an Englishman selling oranges. I said to him: "Are 
they sweet or sour?" "Sour, sir," he replied. "Then, 
said I, "you are the first salesman I ever saw who 
would say his oranges are sour ; so put me up several 
dozen, as you truly represent your fruit." This he did; 
but he hardly comprehended why he should be thus re- 
warded for simply telling the truth. 

T. Morris Chester, an American-born black man came, 
from the President of Liberia, to the Russian court, on a 
temporary mission. He was a well-educated man, with 
rather Moorish than African features, and of good intel- 
lect and intelligence. He was received well by the Em- 
peror, invited to attend a review, and lunched with the 
Czar and suite. But he did not remain lone in St. 
Petersburg, as I suppose his means were limited. He 
gave a very unfavorable account of Liberia, and said it 
was a very hard task to keep the Liberians from becom- 
ing themselves slave-holders. If he went back to Liberia, 
he soon returned again to the United States. Brazil was, 
for a short time, represented also; and Mexico, during 
Maximilian's short reign, had a minister, F. S. Mora, at 
the Russian court. His lady was also with him. I never 
was introduced to them, except through cartes de visile. 
On one occasion, at a great court ball, a lady called my 
attention to Madame Mora. Seeing the vast quantity of 
jewelry worn by the Russian ladies, in addition to her 
rings, etc., she had some of the finest of them, with 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 333 

diamond sets, stuck into her hair, cutting the most ridicu- 
lous figure possible. I gravely remarked that I thought 
such pretension came well from the representatives of 
Maximilian. 

The modern improvements and inventions in steam, 
applied to railroads and travel and commercial transpor- 
tation, as well as the great manufacture and use of cotton 
goods, made serfdom poor pay. To keep pace with the 
more advanced nations, the Russian Government felt the 
necessity of emancipation and education. Besides, the 
nobles in these large slave-holding estates were too pow- 
erful and refractory for autocracy. So, when the Czar 
liberated the serfs, they said : " Well, if the spirit of the 
age requires liberation, it also requires a division of po- 
litical power." To this the autocrat would not assent, 
at once, at least. But what could the nobles do about 
it? The army was, in its officers, with the Government, 
as all standing armies are. The rank and file were of 
the serf-class. There was no motive, therefore, for the 
nobles to operate with, as the soldiers naturally sympa- 
thized with the Czar. 

There was, in 1863, an immense fire in all the com- 
bustible part of St. Petersburg, the work of incendiaries. 
Men, with gold, set their hirelings to fire houses, and 
throw incendiary documents into many dwellings, — there 
was a reign of terror. The object, no doubt, was to get 
up a desperate mob for revolutionary purposes. But the 
Emperor and his staff, and the Czarowitz, rode among 
the people without fear, and assisted in checking the 
fires. So the discontented nobles were left without other 
resort than assassination and intimidation. This is the 
cause, I believe, of the origin of Nihilism. And its suc- 
cess would not save, but sink, the nation. For no pro- 
gression can rest upon such basis of the sum of all 
crimes. The upshot of such a forcible overthrow of the 
central power would be universal anarchy, and the disso- 
lution of the Empire back into petty governments, and 



334 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

old-time barbarism. Were I a Russian, I should certainly 
be on the side of absolutism, and await such progress as 
came of general enlightenment and slow civilization. 

Nihilism — human language has not invented a term 
of greater infamy. Murder is terrible enough ; war suffi- 
ciently horrible ; but what shall be said of those who re- 
duce crime to a system, which perpetuates revenge, car- 
ries the evils of war from the military tent into every 
household, and makes the bloodshed and destruction of 
the passing battle-field an eternal woe to every living 
soul? Nihilists are sowing dragons' teeth, and soon they 
will spring up into legions of armed men. This is that 
fatal disease under various symptoms and many names — 
faction, ostracism, treason, Jacobinism, anarchy, revolution, 
Caesarism — which comes at last to every nation, and which, 
if not sternly and heroically resisted, ends in death. For 
self-government is born of capabilities, and can not be the 
fruit of any enforced formula. 

Whilst autocracy can not be supposed to sympathize 
with popular government, like that of the United States ; 
yet, as an ally against a common rival — England — it was 
quite natural that Russia should desire the preservation 
of the American Union. And this Gortchacow repeatedly 
avowed — that oilr naval power, at least, was a necessary 
element in the world's balance of power, especially against 
England, the natural enemy of Russia. When we pro- 
claimed liberty to the slaves, we gave an earnest of final 
consolidation, enlisted the popular heart of England and 
France upon our side, and made those rulers fear, in a 
war with Russia behind, impossible progress in the aid 
of the South by war upon Mexico. When the Russians, 
therefore, sent their navy into New York harbor, it was 
generally believed that there was an understanding of 
mutual aid. The ships could either there be safe, or as- 
sist the Americans ; whilst Russia could advance toward 
India by land. 

Many attempts were made to sound me upon this sub- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 335 

ject ; but I looked wise and said nothing. Whatever may 
have been the ultimate purpose, Russia thus made a mas- 
terly exhibition, which broke up the Mexican invasion, and 
prevented a foreign recognition of the Confederate States. 

Such was the state of affairs when the first attempt 
was made upon the life of the Czar at the summer- 
garden. The serfs understood the movement against his 
person ; and such demonstrations of love and admiration 
I never saw before any where. For days and nights the 
Winter Palace was besieged by thousands of the peas- 
antry; and they were not content till the Czar continually 
showed himself on the balconies of the palace. My chas- 
seur, who was a freedman, was an intelligent man ; and 
he said to me, if the nobles killed the Emperor, the peo- 
ple would kill the last one of them in revenge. 

In acknowledgment of the hospitality shown the Rus- 
sian fleet in America, I was invited by the Emperor to 
visit him at Gatchina. This palatial villa lies on a spur 
of hills and cool valleys, a long day's drive south from 
St. Petersburg. Much of the court was there. We had 
trout-fishing and walks in the groves, by day ; with danc- 
ing by night. The trout were caught in advance, and put 
into cool pools of running water, with wire screens, so 
that they could not escape. We could catch as many as 
we wanted, and what were caught were eaten. Nothing 
could be finer for sport or for the table. I was reminded 
of the fishing of Pompey with Cleopatra, who had divers 
to put fish on the hooks. Many thought the fish were in 
their native waters; though I, an old fisherman knew bet- 
ter. But I kept my own secret. 

In no country in the world are the summers more de- 
lightful than in Russia. Round tables were set under 
the thick-shading trees ; and the company was thus broken 
into agreeable groups of men and women. 

The Emperor and I dined at one table alone ; which 
was indicative that I was the honored guest. He was 
very amiable, and very abstemious in his eating and drink- 



336 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

ing, not only there, but at all his dinners and balls— a 
man of industry, and well informed in affairs. He had a 
summary made of the articles of interest in all foreign and 
domestic newspapers, so that he could quickly be informed 
of, and keep pace with, passing events. He was humane, 
generous, and brave. This he showed, not only at the 
great burning at St. Petersburg, but when once he was 
absent, and the Grand Duke Nicholas threw many stu- 
dents into prison, because of a supposed conspiracy and 
emeute. As soon as the Emperor returned, he ordered 
them all, without trial, to be liberated ; thus showing a 
brave and generous spirit. When he walked, which he 
did every day when in St. Petersburg, alone on the 
streets, or in the summer-garden without guards, although 
it was against etiquette for men of cultivation to speak to 
him, the poorer people, men and women, often stopped 
him, and personally made their petitions. This was often 
seen by me ; and understood to be always agreeable to 
him. 

It has been the habit of some foreigners to speak of 
Alexander II. as a weak prince. This is not true. He 
was not a brilliant man, being more of the German type 
than the Russian, with a fine person, and large round 
face and head, with large blue eyes, and amiable expres- 
sion ; but he was a man of good common-sense. And, 
if he was not equal to the times in which he lived, it was 
rather because such great changes are too strong for any 
man, than that he was not a strong man himself. We 
must judge an autocrat by his ministers, and his public 
policy, rather than by any superficial, personal criticism. 
And, judged by this standard, what government in the 
world showed more tact, and reaped more success, than 
the Russian? His prime minister, Gortchacow, was hardly 
equalled ; and his viceroys and generals were very eminent 
men every-where. 

The policy of an autocrat is, of course, great reserve 
in conversation, and the Czar rarely violated the rule, and 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 337 

rarely touched on politics. Once, however, when I spoke 
of the supposed alliance between England and France 
against the United States, I ventured to say that France, 
in uniting with Russia's old enemy, England, could not be 
supposed to be favorable to Russia. The Emperor re- 
plied, with decision: "Yes; Napoleon is not to be 
trusted," So, from many unimportant revelations of char- 
acter, summed up, I thought the Emperor a man of fine 
common-sense. 

It is not for us to say that Alexander II. was not a 
man of ability because he fell by the hands of assassins ; 
for two of our presidents died in the same way. Yet who 
would, for that reason, assert that Lincoln and Garfield 
were not men of great talents? We get all our ideas of 
Russia and Russians through English sources, ever col- 
ored with implacable rivalry ; but I think posterity will rank 
Alexander II., not only with the good, but the great rulers 
of the world. Fortunate was he in his life, in the great- 
est act of humanity allotted to man — the liberation of 
23,000,000 of men. And fortunate was he in his death, 
if to fall a martyr to the vindication of great principles is 
allowed to be the favor of the gods. For, since all men 
must die, it is well to so die that posterity shall shed 
tears of grateful memory for the dead. 

I translate and publish the following letters from the 
Russian Premier to show how far I had well-served my 
country abroad, and how unjust was my recall : 

St. Petersburg, February 14, 1862. 

Sir: — I have not failed to place under the eyes of the Em- 
peror, my august master, the letter which you were pleased to 
address to me at the moment of the new duties which recall you 
to your country. 

His Imperial Majesty has been profoundly moved {touche) by the 
sentiments which you express, as well in your own name as in that 
of the American nation. 

His Majesty congratulates himself (se filiate) upon the good rela- 
tions which unite the two countries, and of which neither distance 
Vol. I. — 22 



338 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

(I'eloignement), nor difference of institutions, nor any antagonism 
of interest, have been able to diminish the warm sympathy. Their 
mutual friendship is not only a rational political calculation (calcul), 
it is yet more — a national instinct ; and it is this which makes 
its strength {force). His Majesty, the Emperor, has experienced 
(epreuve) a lively satisfaction in finding in your letter the echo of 
these friendly dispositions. 

I need not assure you of those which animate His Majesty, the 
Emperor, and all Russia {toute entiere), toward the United States. 
You know them. Your Government is not ignorant of them. It 
knows that our aspirations (voa/x) accompany it in the internal 
crisis through which it is passing ; and how much we desire to see 
it emerge promptly, by means which consolidate its power, in 
founding it upon the Union. It is that a like result may be at- 
tained, that we have recommended to it warmly the consolidation 
which " sied a la force." 

Your place is needed in the universal equilibrium of nations. 
She will be great by "/a coneorde." Russia will hail (saluerd), with 
her most vital sympathies, all progress that you accomplish in that 
way ; persuaded that she will find, under all circumstances, in the 
American nation a cordial reciprocity. 

At a moment when you are going to report in your country the 
impressions which your sojourn among us has left, I am happy to 
be able to reiterate to you those assurances. 

I should not know how to close without thanking you for the 
co-operation {concours) that you have constantly afforded me for the 
maintenance of the intimate relations between our governments, and 
without expressing to you the regrets with which I shall witness 
the cessation of our personal associations, of which I shall retain 
the liveliest remembrance. 

Be pleased, sir, to receive with this assurance, that of my most 
distinguished consideration. Gortchacow. 

Czarsko Salo, June 15, 1862. 

Dear Mr. Clay: — I made an effort of friendship to reply to 
your confidential letter of yesterday. Suffering with a very violent 
attack of the gout, I am compelled to be laconic. 

The Emperor was well-satisfied with your discourse, and with 
that of Mr. Cameron. In his response, his majesty has expressed 
to you his lively (I'ivres), profound, and unalterable sympathies for 
the American Union, and the earnest desires (voeux) which he con- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 339 

ceives for the near end of the intestine war which divides you to- 
day, and for a reconciliation which would restore the Union to its 
ancient splendor. 

You know that this is a permanent aspiration (voeu) of the Em- 
peror, with which I am always associated with all my convictions. 

My august master has expressed to you his satisfaction for the 
manner you have acquitted yourself of your diplomatic functions 
near his person, and has manifested the firm hope that we shall 
find the same dispositions in your successor. 

Receive, dear Mr. Clay, with my sincere regrets for the cessa- 
tion of relations, which under public associations {rapports), as well 
as under private, leave me memories which I shall cherish (conser- 
verai) always with pleasure, the assurance of my most devoted sen- 
timents. Gortchacow. 

Czarsko Salo, June 23, 1862. 

Dear Mr. Clay: — The Empress has expressly charged me to 
say, that the photographs* you have sent her have given her great 
pleasure. Her majesty thanks you. His highness, the Grand Duke 
Heritier, expresses to you the same sentiments. 

In return for this message, I ask a favor of you in my behalf. 
It is this: to send me also your "carte" for the album of my friends. 
I shall sacredly (precieusement) preserve the large photograph which 
you have sent me; but I wish to fill in my album the place which 
I have left vacant for your "carte." Please believe in the assurance 
of all my sentiments. Gortchacow. 

The reader will remark the refined delicacy which char- 
acterizes the style of Russian high life. 

St. Petersburg, October 5, 1862. 
I have received, with infinite pleasure, your letter of the 20th 
September. My dear Mr. Clay, the impressions which you con- 
vey (do/it vons me faitcs pa7i,) to me upon the state of affairs in 
your country have had for me much interest. You know with 
what profound sympathy we follow the march of those grand 
events. All that can make even dimly appear (/aire entrevoir) the 
near issue of a strife that we deplore, and bring about a reconcilia- 

*They were the photographs of my two youngest daughters. — C. 



34-0 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

tion which is the object of our prayers (voeitx), will be always 
received by us with satisfaction, as a pledge of the power and 
prosperity in store for a people toward whom the Russian nation 
professes esteem and friendship. 

Till then, let me tell you how sensible I have been of your 
affectionate remembrance, and how I would rejoice if circum- 
stances should bring you again in our midst. 

At the same time, dear Mr. Clay, receive the assurance of 
all my sentiments. Gortchacow. 

This last letter was written to me whilst I was in 
America, in 1862, in reply to one of mine, when I had 
reason to believe that Lincoln would soon issue his 
Emancipation Proclamation, which he did two days after 
the date of mine. For, whilst I had no confidence in our 
success, should slavery be sheltered by our army, or our 
cowardice, I had infinite confidence in our triumph under 
universal freedom. 

These sentiments of the Emperor and the Empress, 
the Heritier and of Gortchacow, were no doubt intensified 
by the great injustice of my recall. For, as I said, no 
government on earth is better posted on foreign affairs 
than the Russian. I represented the Russian idea of 
home-policy ; and Seward's enmity was well known as to 
me, and my cause. So Gortchacow showed as much dis- 
like for Seward as I did ; as will be seen in these Mem- 
oirs. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



High Life in Russia. — Infant Asylums and the Ballet* — Actors and Singers. 
Lucca, Patti, and Ristori. — Fanny Kemble; her letter. — Letter of the 
Baroness Louise Jomini. — How I escaped from "Devouring Dogs." — The 
Military. — Invited, I visit the Princess Dalgorouki. — Associations. — 
The Clubs. — The Citv of St. Petersburg. — Marriage of Alexander III. — 
The Crown Prince of Prussia. — Great Britain's Prince of Wales. — Prince 
George of Denmark, now King of Greece. — The Grand Duchess Olga. — 
The White Hall, its Conservatory. — The Hermitage great Gallery of 
Paintings. 



THERE were extensive graperies at Gatchina; and, 
gathered by fair hands, they were no small part ol 
the pleasures of this mountain home. The Russian no- 
bility are, men and women, of the finest possible physique. 
They are not so small as the French, nor so rugged as 
the English. The women have the highest culture in all 
that is beautiful and winning in the sex. They are rather 
fuller in person than the American girls, with a subdued 
manner, which our country-women so much need. They 
never assert themselves, having too much tact for that. 
What is the strangest of all is that these people, with no 
trace of western blood in their veins, are more like Amer- 
icans than any of the European nations. The oriental 
ideas of the seclusion of the sexes remains to a great 
extent in Russian society. The mother, or some other 
chaperon, always accompanies the girls to places of as- 
sembly of all kinds. When one is invited to a ball or 
private party, the being there is a sufficient guarantee of 
respectability ; and any man may dance with any lady 
with or without a formal introduction. They generally 
make a card-list of appointments in the usual way ; and, 
when the engagement is due, the young man, or other 
gentleman, bows, takes the lady's hand, and dances, with- 

34T 



342 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

out saying a word. Then, returning her to her seat, bows 
again ; and this is about all the intercourse. 

When one is quite intimate in a family, some small 
liberty of conversation is tolerated ; but this is rare in 
public assemblies. In consequence, marriages are made 
by the parents, even, at times, before the young couple 
have ever spoken to each other. As a general thing, 
their marriages are more fortunate than ours here, where 
the silly youth are allowed to marry without any judgment 
of character. And certainly our boasted liberty of the sex 
is leading to very tragical results. 

All the old civilizations are astonished at the freedom 
of intercourse between the sexes in America. In primi- 
tive times, this was all very well, among a people well-off, 
equal in circumstances, moral and religious, with little of 
the leisure and the luxuries of the older nations. But 
now all that is changed. We have the wealth, the leis- 
ure, and the luxuries of the old world ; whilst the moral 
ideas are disturbed by the decay of all forms of religion, 
and the rapid intercourse between the extremes of civili- 
zation, in consequence of the railroads, steamships, and 
all the modern means of communication — the press, the 
telegraph, and all that. Nature takes care that all animal 
life shall be preserved ; and hence the sexual passion can 
not be easily controlled. It is the province of the family 
and the State to restrain the impulses of the sexes till 
the full maturity of the person is achieved. Then early 
marriages are the best means of conserving virtue. In 
the meantime, a philosophical system of education, leading 
the mind and sentiments and body into agreeable chan- 
nels of innocent pleasure, is the highest conservative in- 
fluence. 

Especially must we deprecate our foolish children's 
parties, and the American custom of having children en- 
ter society in earliest youth. For of this comes a devel- 
opment of the passions before the intellectual and phys- 
ical maturity of the person. There are now in some of 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 343 



these States more divorces than in any other civilized com- 
munities on earth. And the Catholic religion has its great- 
est strength because of its conservative influence upon the 
family ; which is the base of all civilization. 

I have had large experience of observation in this re- 
gard ; and say, without fear of contradiction, that oppor- 
tunity is the most fatal of all to the virtue of the sexes. 
Just now the rage in the large cities is for women to 
marry their coachmen! Well, then, they must not be left 
alone with their coachmen ! Buggy rides are common with 
lovers ; and, lately, a lady was drugged in one of these 
rides, when her ruin could not be otherwise achieved ! But 
I wander from my narrative. 

After marriage in Russia, as elsewhere in Europe, 
there is more liberty allowed ; more than is here. After 
much experience in the world, among many nations, I am 
inclined to believe that chastity is very equally shared by 
all ; and that there is more virtue in all than is lightly 
allowed. Nevertheless, where large armies exist, as in 
Russia, where marriage would be very precarious in its 
domestic enjoyment, as troops move often, and without the 
means of transporting women, liaisons are very common ; 
and it is not thought discreditable to have a mistress 
All that is required is to keep up the proprieties, and 
never to have a scene. These girls are often as true, or 
even more true, than wives themselves. For, in conse- 
quence of made-matches, there is an easy excuse for the 
wandering of the affections of the doomed parties ; and 
they are very tolerant of each other. 

In Russian cities there are asylums for infants. The 
children are put into the hands of the female superin- 
tendents and matrons, no questions being asked ; and 
numbers are given, in case the parents should be dis- 
posed to recover the child at any time. These infants, 
from a day old and upward, when taken, are kept at 
the public expense till they are of a suitable age to put 
out to service ; when they go into the mass of society 



344 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

again. They generally amount to thousands in St. Peters- 
burg and Moscow. But this is, by no means, an evidence 
of illegitimacy ; for, so far as I could learn, not only the 
peasants, but women in high life, whose pecuniary circum- 
stances were greatly reduced, avail themselves of the 
chance to put their burdens upon the state. Lying-in 
apartments are also provided. After seeing all the effects 
of this institution, I am clearly of the opinion that it is 
a wise and charitable remedy in part for one of the great- 
est evils of civilization. Who can imagine the woe that 
follows an unhappy frailty, when so many women commit 
suicide, and throw their newly-born infants into sewers 
and rivers and the sea! And how many might not live 
on, and enjoy comparative happiness, if their first in- 
discretion did not drive them into habitual infamy and de- 
spair! 

The ballet of Russia belongs to the Department ot 
Theaters, and which is a regular ministry. From these 
infant asylums the most perfect forms are selected for the 
ballet ; where they receive a very good education, espe- 
cially in all that improves the taste for the beautiful in 
dress, flowers, ornamentation, and all that. Any one ac- 
quainted with physiognomy will see that many of these 
ballet-girls and boys are of noble genealogy. The larg- 
est theater in St. Petersburg is devoted to the opera, and 
the ballet, and concerts, at intervals. The ballet is not 
often attended by the ladies of the higher nobility; but 
gentlemen of every society are fond of the ballet. The 
Emperor goes often; though he sits in a private box unob- 
served. The best instructors in Europe are employed in 
teaching the dancers. Nothing lascivious in the least is 
ever allowed ; and, with postures which would make an 
American woman blush to the very hair, a ballet-girl will 
wear the face of innocence and unconsciousness which 
might be called angelic. In fact, they are pure ; and their 
education accustoms them to their profession. So a 
woman, in all countries, will expose her bust in dress- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 345 

circles, which she would regard as a disgraceful act at 
other times. So much are we the creatures of custom 
and fashion. 

The ballet is generally a mimic melo-drama, where the 
regular plot is advanced by signs and actions, intermin- 
gled with dances and poses, as easily understood as words. 
The ballet-scenery is got up with great expense, and the 
best artists are employed in the decoration and stage 
machinery, which costs, at times, as much as 30,000 
rubles for a single ballet. The band is equal in excel- 
lence to that of the opera, and is generally the same. 

The Minister of Theaters goes all over Europe, and 
selects the best singers and actors ; and, whilst I was 
there, Patti and Lucca, and other noted singers, could all 
be heard. The best actors and singers are not received 
in the first social circles in Russia ; and, even when en- 
gaged for private concerts, they are kept a separate class. 
But in secondary circles they are often invited ; where gen- 
tlemen of every rank may also go with propriety. Not 
even Patti, after she married the Marquis de Caux, was 
received at court. 

I had heard Patti sing " Comin' thro' the rye," and 
other Scotch ballads, in Cincinnati, whilst she was yet 
wearing short dresses ; and, as all ranks to me were the 
same in every land, I called upon, and told her of my 
earlier acquaintance with her, through Strakosch. When 
the Marquis returned my visit, he entertained me with 
telling me how Strakosch had cheated him out of Patti's 
earnings ! I was completely disgusted with him ; and I 
was not at all surprised that she finally left him, and got 
a divorce, having found out to her sorrow that nobleness 
of soul does not always go with nobility of blood. 

I was in Patti's box when she made her first appear- 
ance in opera at St. Petersburg. The Russians are a very 
proud people, and were not willing to take Patti's sing- 
ing on the decision of others ; so they withheld for some 
time their applause. At last, however, (who could do 



346 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

otherwise?) they burst out into their usual enthusiasm, 
when pleased. Patti returned to her box highly excited 
and gratified. I began to make an explanation of the ap- 
parent coldness with which she was at first received, in- 
tending by that to exaggerate her success ; but she inter- 
rupted me by saying: "Oh! you are mistaken. I think 
they received me grandly!" So I thought she was, at 
best, but a spoiled child — "vox, et preterea nihil" — and 
did not think further explanation worth the candle. 

Ristori, the tragedian, acted at St. Petersburg. I knew 
many of the first singers, actors, and dancers of my time. 
The foreigners are generally mechanical, with few excep- 
tions. Ole Bull was but a big boy, but natural. Jenny 
Lind was not only a fine singer, but a fine woman. Char- 
lotte Cushman was very intellectual, but too homely for 
any use — and then she drank brandy, when I dined with 
her, like a dragoon. She said the exhaustion of the stage 
made it necessary ; but the fact remained ! The American 
women now coming forward on the stage as actors and 
opera-singers are bound to go to the front, because, with 
equal talent and beauty, they are more natural ; and purity 
of character is now safe in such life. I always enjoyed 
the society of intellectual women more than that of men. 
Margaret Fuller pleased me much; though she was quite 
plain in face and person. I think the friends of Hawthorne 
will do well to be silent about Margaret; as it may turn 
out that the Countess d'Ossoli will be remembered when 
the author of the "Scarlet Letter" is forgotten. Many of 
the great poets affected to laugh at the Scotch plowman- 
poet. Burns, however, will live when they are remem- 
bered no more. 

I found Fanny Kemble a fine woman in person, as well 
as intellect. I venture to subjoin a characteristic letter, 
not more personal, perhaps, than generic in woman's tact. 
I had made her acquaintance in Cincinnati. I append, also, 
a letter from the Baroness Louise Jomini, the beautiful 
daughter of Baron Jomini, preceptor to His Imperial High- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 347 

ness, the Grand Duke Heritier, on the reception of my 
Albany speech, and which answers Fanny Kemble's in- 
quiry of "What shall be done with slavery?" 

LETTER OF FANNY KEMBLE. 

Boston, Sunday, 10, 1850. 

My Dear Sir: — I am flattered by your remembering me, and 
sparing leisure to write to me. I have received the volume of 
your Writings, which I shall peruse with all the interest due to 
such subject, treated by one who, like yourself, has undergone 
martyrdom for the sake of what he held the truth. I was a lit- 
tle surprised at your caring to have the likeness of an entire 
stranger; but, inasmuch as the daguerrotype portrait-taker had 
retained one of my likenesses, and could therefore multiply them 
indefinitely at her pleasure, I do not think it was much of a favor 
that you asked, or that I granted, in that transaction. 

I much incline to your views of the "Rights of beggars;" 
and, as soon as they are duly admitted, shall set about asking 
favors to the right and left. At present, I do not much deal in 
requests; for I quite agree with you that the price of asking is a 
very heavy one to pay for any thing. It is my hope and purpose 
to visit Cincinnati again before I close my public career in this 
country, which I intend to do this spring. I was charmed with 
the place; and more than satisfied, believe me, with the attention 
and kindness shown me by the inhabitants. I was greatly grieved 
that my arrangements did not admit of my remaining longer at 
that time ; but look forward to returning, when the beautiful beech 
woods, and the soft sward beneath them, shall have put on their 
first fresh suit of green. It will give me pleasure to think that I 
may then have some seasons of intercourse with you ; as you, I 
am happy to say, have not thought fit to consider me as one of 
those "very superior" female creatures of whom men should stand 
in awe. Pray believe me, my dear sir, your much obliged, 

Fanny Kemble. 

P. S. — Won't you please set about devising how to break 
down the wall to which you and others have fairly driven the 
Southern planters? I pity them as much as I hate slavery, and 
that is an infinite quantity. It does not need statesmen to prove 
that slavery is wrong; but it does need statesmen to suggest what 
shall be done with it. 



348 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

LETTER OF THE BARONESS LOUISE JOMINI. 

St. Petersburg, March 31, 1864. 
Sir: — I feel bound to acknowledge your amiable attention, 
and thank you for the pleasure I have found in the perusal of 
your noble speech. I need not tell you how I have felt the 
power of such reading to kindle the latent enthusiasm in every 
human soul. 

Let me assure you that it shall ever be a pleasant remem- 
brance to have personally known the author. Yours, gratefully, 

Louise Jomini. 

The diplomatic corps and the Russian officials are 
compelled to spend the summer near St. Petersburg, and 
the Imperial Court. A wealthy German had a large 
country-residence near the "Point." A portion of his 
grounds were cut off, and a .cottage was built, for rent 
during the hot months. The grounds came down to the 
water's edge of the Neva — here a broad and clear stream. 
It was taken by me ; and I built a bath-house, anchored 
on the clear waters, with a surrounding platform, where I 
spent much time in fishing. The cottage was well-fur- 
nished with flowers from a green-house, and my carriage- 
horses were stabled with the landlord. Northward, along 
the river, was quite a village of the humble people of St. 
Petersburg; and a canal was cut from the river to the 
bay, to secure the large grounds from depredation, and a 
high fence built all around my separate grounds ; but, at 
the rear line, a low fence, about five feet high only, sepa- 
rated the property, and allowed me the view of a large 
park farther west. This fence was made low, no doubt, 
for two purposes: to allow a more extended view, and also 
allow the watch-dogs of the German to enter the cottage- 
grounds, to prevent marauders from getting a lodgment 
there for further entrance into the premises of the owner. 

Dogs have been used as guards from the earliest 
known times. Homer speaks of them as being at Troy ; 
and all remember the beautiful lines with which the Iliad 
opens, concluding with — 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 349 

"Whose bones, unburied on the lonely shore, 
Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore." 

So Plutarch tells of how the Greeks used them for the 
protection of even armed citadels. 

The German had three dogs — a large Newfoundland, 
a mastiff, and a petulant, watchful terrier — a most for- 
midable force. One evening, in the dim twilight, I started 
for the rear of my grounds, and was looking over the fence 
into the park beyond, when suddenly the large Newfound- 
land laid his fore-feet upon the top rail, and looked me in 
the face. He was higher, as he stood on his hind-legs, 
than myself; and about the largest dog I ever saw. He 
had evidently scented me, and was studying the situation. 
The next moment I heard the angry terrier growl at a 
short distance ; and I knew, from my long experience with 
dogs, that, as soon as the terrier came up, the whole 
trio would mount the fence, and be upon me. I had no 
weapon whatever. To stand, was death ; and to run 
seemed a like fate. But I made up my mind to run at 
once, trusting to chance for further help. I was about one 
hundred yards from the cottage ; but had little hope of 
reaching it. About half way, in a lilac-hedge, I saw a 
dead stake, and broke it with a giant's effort. It cracked 
like a pistol. The dogs were nearly upon me, when, 
swinging my club, with a wild scream I advanced upon 
them like lightning. It was too much for their courage. 
They fled ; not yet having fully determined who I was, or 
what ought to be done. In a moment more I was in my 
cottage, pistol in hand ; but I was safe. I saw the dogs 
no more. And no more at twilight hour did I look upon 
the park of the canny Dutchman ; nor listen to the syren 
voices of the beautiful women of his household ! 

The Russian guards, of various arms, about St. Peters- 
burg, are generally about fifty thousand men. These en- 
camp, in the summer, on the high grounds of the Neva, 
1 etween St. Petersburg and Peterhoff, where there is quite 
a village (Roptcha and Krasnoe Selo) ; and the ballet and 



350 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

the musical band accompany them. They have also a 
race-track, and other means of amusement, such as gath- 
erings in the grove, with a platform for dancing at night, 
when thousands of lamps are hung to the limbs of the 
trees ; thus producing a very picturesque effect. 

One night the Emperor was present at the dance, 
where but little ceremony is observed, and all were gay. 
The Emperor had been dancing, and was standing in the 
crowd looking on, when an immense number of couples 
were, in an old-fashion cotillion, "swinging corners." The 
dance was animated, the twilight-lamps not giving much 
distinctness to persons. The Princess Dolgorouki was 
dancing. I knew her well ; and, as she turned to swing, 
in passing around, she was at a loss to know at once 
who was her partner. So I, who was not in the dance 
at all, turned her, and stepped back again. No one but 
the Emperor observing it, he said to me : " Were you 
dancing?" I said: "No; but the young lady seemed to 
be bewildered, and I came to her relief." The Emperor 
was delighted with my gallantry ; and made some pleasant 
rejoinder. So, after all, I thought Prince and Peasant are 
ever near together — the same humanity. 

The first families of Russia are honored in having- their 
daughters enrolled among the "dames d ' honneur" — ladies 
of honor — who compose the suite of the Empress, and live 
in the palace, as part of the family. Among the most 
noted of these, for her rank and accomplishments, was the 
Princess to whom I have above alluded. It is true that 
some proud old nobles refuse this honor ; but they gener- 
ally live retired on their estates, and care little for the gay- 
eties or honors of the court. I thought my first duty in 
Russia was to keep the Czar, if possible, on the Union 
side ; and, therefore, my business was to please. I was in- 
troduced to the Princess ; and she invited me to call and 
see her the next Sunday, naming the hour, at the Winter- 
Palace. Feeling honored, I said I would call on her. So, 
at the hour named, I entered, in full uniform ; the grand 



CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 35 I 

staircase, near the Hermitage, being the usual place for 
guests. The Winter-Palace extends, with the Hermitage 
and some other buildings used by the suite at court, two- 
thirds of a mile along the Neva. The entrance here was 
a long distance from the left extremity of the palace, where 
I discovered that the Princess had her suite of rooms. A 
half dozen liveried servants, in imperial dress, were in wait- 
ing, and took my over-shoes, etc. ; whilst the card-bearer, 
or fourrier — a sort of avant- courier on all such occa- 
sions — with elaborate dress, and immense ostrich-feathers 
in his head-dress, took my open "carte de visile." He 
was gone a long time ; but at length returned, and asked 
me to follow him. So, leaving my chasseur with the serv- 
ants below, I followed. I was wearing my large gift-sword. 
The Russians, on most occasions, take pride in conducting 
one through many apartments, whose use seems to be only 
display, to see the owner ; and, of course, the palace was 
but an exaggeration of these rooms and custom. So it 
seemed to me that I passed over acres of apartments. We 
passed several squads of guards in full uniform who, as I 
wore military dress, always saluted me as I passed, by pre- 
senting arms, and then bringing their muskets, after I had 
passed, to the floor with a crack of exactest precision. I 
began to reflect, was I right in accepting her invitation? 
Might it not be a woman's freak, which she might hazard, 
but which would be disastrous to me, if I was violating 
etiquette, of which I was entirely ignorant? Might not all 
I had gained with the Emperor be more than lost by my 
ill-timed visit, which might almost be termed an- adventure ? 
At all events my sword, which was heavy at first, seemed 
to increase in weight ! At last I arrived at the Princess's 
rooms, was ushered in by a servant, and received by her 
with quiet grace. 

She was already holding quite a Sunday-levee : the 
Count de Moira, Minister of Portugal, who had married 
her aunt, being one ; and other acquaintances intimate 
with the family. It was certainly a relief to me, that I 



352 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

was not alone, for the first time in my life, with a charm- 
ing woman ! But I never paid any more visits to the 
maids of honor ! The Princess finally married one of the 
Emperor's staff; and he was made Viceroy of one of the 
governments of this large Empire. 

I was also acquainted with the Princess Marie Dolgo- 
rouki, and her younger sister, who were noted beauties at 
St. Petersburg ; and the elder of whom I had the honor 
of entertaining, with other distinguished Russians, at a 
ball at my house. 

Whilst I made it a rule to see and to study every 
rank in Russian society, I took pains to associate with 
the most reputable, at least with the most agreeable, of 
that class. Among these I remember the Dolgorouki 
family, male and female. The Prince Vladimir Dolgo- 
rouki, Governor-General of Moscow, was one of the most 
finished gentlemen I ever met in any country. He exer- 
cised royal powers in that province and city ; and knew 
well how to make himself agreeable and respected. He, 
as well as many of his family, were much my friends. I 
was often with the Davidoffs, the Apraxines, the Kou- 
cheleffs, the Count Stroganoff — the brother-in-law of the 
Emperor, who had made the morganatic marriage with 
the Grand Duchess Mary — and others. He was the 
finest-looking man in Russia ; and was, together with 
Counts Apraxine and KouchelefT, fond of having a "good 
time" — when we would "not go home till morning." 
Count Orloff Davidoff was also of fine personal pres- 
ence — of the oldest families of Russia — always digni- 
fied ; and for a long time Master of Ceremonies — a very 
confidential office in Russia. 

One night, at a grand ball at Davidoff's, who had a 
magnificent house, and one of the finest galleries of paint- 
ings in St. Petersburg, I was standing near the Count, 
when I was attracted by the appearance of a woman of 
great beauty; and I said to the host: "Please tell me 
who is that fine woman?" — pointing to her unmistakably. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 353 

"That," said he, "is my daughter, the Princess Wassil- 
chicoff, of Moscow." "Well," said I, "Count, I beg your 
pardon, but I am a Kentuckian ; and, although I did 
not suspect that she was one of your family, I will not 
retract a word I have said." The Count was much 
pleased ; and afterward I asked the photographs of the 
Prince and Princess, which were given on one card, as 
is the custom. But I found myself on the best of terms 
with all the Davidoff-family during my whole residence in 
Russia. Such is the force of saying pleasant things. 

A similar story is told of Lord North, of our Revolu- 
tionary times, who had a very plain-looking family. "Who 
is that ugly woman there?" said a courtier to his lord- 
ship. "That is my wife!" "Oh! not she," said the court- 
ier, "but the horrid woman next to her?" "That," re- 
plied Lord North, "is my daughter!" I suppose, for his- 
tory is silent, that he hardly got any office under North's 
administration. 

A cousin of mine, who was a very plain woman, but 
very good, was at a ball, when a friend was asked: "Who 

is that ugly woman?" That is Miss . Has not a 

woman the right to look ugly?" "Of course," said the 
other, "I grant you; but does she not a little abuse the 
privilege? " 

The clubs of Russia embrace every class of society, 
from the highest nobles to the burgeois and operatives. 
I was, I believe, an honorary member of every club in 
St. Petersburg, as well as the Naval Club, at Cronstadt. 
Being alone in my home, Mrs. Clay having, on account 
of bad health, returned to America in 1862, I spent much 
time in these clubs, going from one to another often in 
the same night; where I could see almost the whole of 
Russian society, except the ladies of the highest nobility. 

And one of these, Princess , with her lady companion, 

at a masked ball at Club, I introduced, as this was 

my right, and they seemed to enjoy the novelty. Of 
course, she was known to no one but myself. These 
Vol. I. — 23 



354 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

clubs have rooms in the city in winter, and country-seats 
in the suburbs in the summer, where dancing, cards, and 
music, and eating and drinking are indulged ; both sexes 
meeting at all. Two of these clubs entertained Captain 
Fox and officers whilst in St. Petersburg. 

At the Moscow Club and Zoological Institution, of 
which I was an honorary member, I and Captain Fox 
planted trees in memory of the event. At Cronstadt, 
where a dinner was given us, being also an honorary 
member, to a toast I made a speech in which it was 
thought that I uttered sentiments too liberal for an autoc- 
racy. I was so told by the chief of the secret police in 
a friendly way. So, when Admiral Farragut, with his 
officers, were entertained at Prince Gallitzin's dinner, 
toasts were given, but no speeches. And, in the English 
Club, after the freedom in which Captain Murray and 
others indulged on Fox's visit, no more speaking was 
allowed afterward ; though, at that time, Gortchacow him- 
self made a short and pertinent speech, as well as my- 
self and others. To one of the clubs to which I be- 
longed I gave an elegant painting ; and, in turn, by per- 
mission of the authorities, the United States flag was al- 
lowed to be perpetually unfurled — an unusual permit. 

The city of St. Petersburg, the present Capital of the 
Russian Empire, was founded by Peter the Great, the 
most distinguished of the Czars. His genius taught him 
that to cope with modern Europe he must use modern 
methods, and reduce his semi-barbarous subjects to civili- 
zation. He not only introduced foreigners of letters and 
art, but in the absence of railroads he sougnt such inter- 
course as could come only of a war and mercantile navy. 
The outlet to the great oceans through the Dardanelles 
was blocked by the rival nations ; hence he looked to the 
Neva, the Gulf of Finland, and the Baltic Sea, as a nur- 
sery of future naval prowess. 

The Neva flows from the great lake Ladoga and its 
tributaries. A large portion of this vast system of swamps, 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 355 

rivulets, and lakes comprised ancient Ingria, which Peter 
had wrested successfully from Sweden by arms. Upon 
this river, about twenty miles from its union with the bay 
at Cronstadt, Peter began the present city in 1703. Both 
sides being flat and swampy, piles were driven for the 
foundations, and canals were cut every-where for naviga- 
tion and water for domestic purposes. The city, with the 
exception of some of the churches, which affect the ori- 
ental style, is comparatively modern — made of burnt brick 
and stuccoed, with a few granite and hard-burnt brick edi- 
fices. It now has about 800,000 inhabitants, with parks, 
open plazas for the troops, wide and well-paved streets, 
and is no doubt the finest city of the world. 

The Neva, after entering the city, branches into the 
Little Neva and the Nevka, the former running on west, 
and the latter flowing at nearly right angles to it, thus 
giving the eye a long stretch over the waters. A large 
portion of the banks on both sides are walled up even 
with the descending plains with red granite ; and, as the 
rise and fall of the stream is very little on the unwalled 
banks, the vegetation grows to the very waters. Thus we 
have one of the finest river views any where to be seen. 
At this point, where the divided waters form an island, 
and where the old Neva widens also into grand propor- 
tions, on the south bank stands the Winter- Palace of the 
Czar of all the Russias. All along the southern bank, on 
both sides of the Imperial residence, are built the houses 
of the most notable and wealthy of the titled aristocracy. 
And on the opposite mainland and island shores are a 
mass of public and private buildings, parks, trees, shrub- 
bery, and flowers. The palace is eighty feet high, and 
four stories in elevation ; together with the Hermitage, the 
whole river front is 970 feet, by about 350 in depth. The 
principal front entrance is on the Neva, leading up a 
splendid marble stairway; but the most imposing is on 
the south side of the Hermitage. This is a porch, or ves- 
tibule, of great pretensions, being supported by ten male 



356 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

figures twenty-two feet high, with their pedestals of gray 
granite, instead of the usual caryatides. In the many gal- 
leries of the Hermitage are about 4,000 paintings, with all 
the usual accompaniments, statues, pottery, medals, vases, 
jewelry, and all that; the great diamond, the Orloff, being 
one of them, is said to be the largest and most valuable 
one known. 

The Princess Dagmar (Marie -Sophie- Fred -Dagmar,) 
was born November 26, 1853, being the fourth child of 
Christian, King of Denmark. She was at first affianced 
to Nicholas Alexandrowitz, Czarowitz ; but, he dying be- 
fore the union, she was affianced to Alexander Alexandro- 
witz, the next heir to the throne, now Alexander III. Of 
course, the wedding was much talked of, and great prepa- 
rations were made. The troops in and about St. Peters- 
burg were massed, and about fifty thousand of all arms 
were afterward reviewed. The most distinguished guests 
were the Crown Prince of Prussia, Frederick William ; the 
Prince of Wales, of Great Britain ; and Prince George, of 
Denmark, brother of the bride, and afterward succeeding 
Otto as King of Greece. Subsequently he married the 
Grand Duchess Olga Constantinowa, said to be the most 
beautiful woman in all the royal families of Europe ; her 
mother, Alexandra, wife of Grand Duke Constantine, of 
the Grand Duchy of Baden, having been also a cele- 
brated beauty. Our Minister to Greece was so lavish 
of her praises that our roundhead Congress, I believe, 
abolished the mission. Had they seen Olga themselves, 
I do not think that even they would have done so fool- 
ish a thing. 

There were present, also, the Embassadors of Eng- 
land, France, and Spain ; the Ministers Plenipotentiary 
from the other first powers, and some representatives of 
the barbarous nations of Asia. There were other distin- 
guished guests, besides the nobles of Russia. Only to 
the "kings that were to be" was the diplomatic corps 
presented. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY 



357 



The ceremony took place in one of the elegant halls 
of the Winter Palace; the princes entering one by one 
into the room where the diplomates were arranged in 
line, according to rank and seniority — Prince Gortchacow 
officiating. I do not now remember what was said to me, 
so long time ago; but I have yet vivid impressions of the 
princes. Frederick, of Germany, was first introduced, I 
suppose on account of being the heir-apparent to the 
Empire — Disraeli not having then added the title of Em- 
press of India to the British Crown. He was over six 
feet high, slight in figure for a German ; but firm, healthy, 
and dignified in his personal pose and bearing. He 
seemed to be a man of affairs, who had a great work 
to do, and was prepared for the effort. The Prince of 
Wales was shorter, stouter, and of full Anglo-Germanic 
build. They were both blonds. The Prince had, no 
doubt, often read Shakspeare's "Prince Hal," and stud- 
ied the character. He looked to be a man who took 
the world easily — shrewd, but yet full of bonhomie, or, 
rather, good-fellowship. He had been in America; and 
I imagined that, when he saw me, many scenes of our 
naive and original life passed across his memory. Prince 
George was the smallest of the three, of dark complex- 
ion, with a pleasant face, and intellectual head. The 
Prince of Wales was the only one who made any very 
marked impression on the Russians. For a long time 
his name was in the mouths of the young nobles and the 
army officers of St. Petersburg; and "Prince Hal" was a 
standing toast. 

In Russia the whole people are divided into classes : 
first, the imperial class, then the nobility, then the army, 
then, I believe, the petite-noblesse, then the mercantile 
guilds, etc. State and imperial balls are given each year, 
to which all these have the entree, when thousands are 
suppered, but few of them dance ; and, I suppose, eti- 
quette governs here in this as elsewhere. 

The number admitted to the marriage ceremony was 



358 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

few, and only the highest classes invited. The Metro- 
politan of St. Petersburg, assisted by the higher clergy, 
officiated ; and, after the Russian Church service had tied 
the irrevocable knot, the Lutheran Church of Denmark, in 
another apartment, repeated the ceremonial, so as to sat- 
isfy the consciences of all parties. The Princess Dag- 
mar, who is beautiful, of rather petite, but full, person, 
with large, dark eyes and profuse black hair, always 
amiable and affable as an American girl, seemed very con- 
tented and happy. Her husband (the present Czar,) was 
serious and earnest, as he always was, and seemed to be 
very much in love, as he had a right to be. She was 
worthy of all his affection ; and it has been said, I doubt 
not, with truth, that, autocrat as he is, he has always 
been true to his marriage vows. This he owed, no doubt, 
to his mother, a woman of rare virtues, whose whole life, 
more than any one I ever knew, seemed to have but one 
mission — to live for her family and her people, and not 
for herself. She had been beautiful in youth, was deli- 
cate in health ; but the mental and spiritual more than 
compensated for the charms of earlier days. 

Passing over the grand ball, to which every body had 
the enfree, there was a select party in the " White Hall," 
a very noted room for its graceful colonnade, proportions, 
and unique arrangements, including an actual garden over 
the third story, with trees, shrubs, and walks, suitably set 
with flowers. 

This favorite hall, entirely white in all its accom- 
paniments, is lighted, as all Russian houses of wealth are, 
with candles, without oil or gas ; so that the air is al- 
ways pure, and more brilliancy is nowhere seen. When 
we consider the noble figure and bearing of the Imperial 
family; the Russian women — not so much inclined to 
embonpoint as the English, but more so than the French, 
with more color and weight than even the Americans, 
their taste and independence in dress, their unequaled 
grace in movement and in repose, their profusion of pre- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 359 

cious stones inherited from even extinct dynasties ; the 
richness and variety of the inherited dress of many princes 
and nobles, no two of them perhaps alike, where the bar- 
barous "black and claw-hammer" of Western Europe is 
never seen ; they, too, decked out with all the jeweled in- 
signia of their orders ; the select music from all Europe ; 
the national dance — the mazurka (from which the Ger- 
man is derived in the West,) — where men and women in 
great troops, with flying hair and ribbons streaming like 
battle-flags, sweep down the wide halls with an abandon 
unknown elsewhere in polished ranks, — truly it is a scene 
to remind one of the imaginings of dreams. 

In the far West, on the bloom-covered prairies, I have 
seen thousands of wild horses, male and female, come 
rushing past with fiery eyes and distended nostrils, and 
long manes and tails streaming in the wind — an odor of 
crushed flowers exhales from their feet, and the earth 
trembles under their tread ! — thus they went to the 
private theater in the palace. Here the best singers of 
Europe congregate. 

In the great gallery of the Italian school, flanked by 
the halls of the Flemish and Spanish painters, where were 
gathered the greatest works of these greatest artists of 
all time, were set the supper-tables in two rows. The 
Imperial Conservatory, if I remember aright, is near three- 
fourths of a mile in length, containing all the flowers of 
all the climes and all the continents — from the hyacinth 
of a few inches in height to the palm of the torrid zone, 
lifting its graceful trunk fifty feet in the air, with its long, 
feathery foliage drooping with the waving lines of the wil- 
low. The choicest of these plants, with fruit and bloom 
and scented leaf, were moved in great tubs, and set upon 
the floors of the palace ; around each the round tables 
were placed, and the cloths deftly laid. The galleries, 
lighted by immense sky-lights by day, were now in a 
blaze with candles ingeniously shaded so as to imitate the 
stars of heaven, so that the paintings of the gallery were 



360 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

distinctly shown. Thus culminated all the treasures and 
all the pomp of a great Empire. 

The summer nights of Russia are the wonder of all 
who have been so fortunate as to witness them. They 
are but an extended twilight, where print can be read all 
the time by the light of the stars and the refracted rays 
of the sun, ill-concealed beneath the near horizon. At 
such times, on the beautiful waters of the clear and 
placid Neva, light and listless boats are filled with those 
who are given to poetry and romance — where words of 
love are breathed in softened tones into willing ears. As 
the wierd strains of the music died away in the distant 
theater we entered these halls, where all that was possi- 
ble in highest achievement in nature and in art were ag- 
gregated. It seemed not so much that we were about to 
renew the fabled banquet of the Babylonian king, as that 
we were borne by some magic power into the intensified 
poetry and beauty of a Russian summer night. Let our 
memories and our imaginations cease with the strains of 
the distant music, the exhalation of flowers, and the wan- 
ing tints of paintings and stars ; for the past returns no 
more forever! 



CHAPTER XIX. 



Russia. — Popular Pastimes.— Ice Mountains. — Pretty poor French for Busi- 
ness purposes. — The Perkins-Claim Swindle. — Seward telegraphs me to 
press it. — Prince Gortchacow's Decision. — M. de Catacazy's letter to 
Chief Justice Chase. — Catacazy's Defense. — Seward requests me to re- 
sign. — I do so conditionally. — The Senate refuses to appoint my suc- 
cessor. — Final defeat of Seward. — Perkins-Claim Swindle revived by 
Bancroft Davis, under auspices of the Immortal Fish. — Captain G. B. 
Fox and his Mission. — John Van Buren. — Prince Gortchacow enter- 
tains the Diplomatic Corps. — Admiral Farragut. — Count Bergh and 
Prince Suwarrow. — Count Mouravieff Amousky. — Public Dinner given 
me at Moscow. — I make a Tariff speech. — City of Moscow. — William L. 
Winans. — The Orloff breed of Horses. 



THE cold in Russia, in consequence of the dryness 
of the air, is not disagreeable, when one is suitably 
clothed in furs, or other warm skins. Hence, sleigh- 
riding is very common with the wealthier classes. Suit- 
able sleighs are used for one, two, or more ; the troika 
uses three horses, the center one trots fast, and the other 
two are taught a gallop, so as to make quite a pictur- 
esque turn-out. In these last many are crowded ; and, 
as the "girls and boys" have to sit close together, under 
the bear or fox-skin lap-rugs, this is quite a favorite amuse- 
ment for the young. 

Ice mountains are made by a frame-work platform and 
staircase. From the platform, about forty feet high, a 
chute is built of wood, also in a descending line to the 
ground, say from fifty to one hundred yards long ; and on 
the bottoms and sides are placed cakes of ice. The ice- 
sleds are then occupied by one or two ; and away they go 
like a shot. As this sport is somewhat dangerous, at least 
in appearance, the gentle sex is held excusable in holding 
on to her more self-possessed companion. 

361 



362 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Skating, in latter times, has also become a popular 
amusement in St. Petersburg; where large tents, with 
stoves and refreshments, are prepared on the Neva, and 
the ice artificially kept smooth in open areas. Dancing 
and music are kept up by some classes, winter and sum- 
mer, in and near St. Petersburg. The nobility, whose 
duties keep them in, or the neighborhood of, St. Peters- 
burg, assemble each afternoon at the " Point," which looks 
out toward Cronstadt, in the imperial grounds of Yela- 
gin Island ; where fine horses and carriages are shown, 
and salutations made between acquaintances, as at the 
Alameda in Mexico. There are fine walks here, seats, 
and a band of music ; and, in summer, it is one of the 
most pleasant places in Russia, and is much frequented 
by the nobility and all well-dressed people. 

The "Point" is a cape, where two branches of the 
Neva unite and widen out into a broad view toward the 
bay of Cronstadt. The grounds are well-ornamented with 
walks and fine trees ; and the shades are very agreeable 
all the summer round. 

Many of the clubs have their houses and grounds in 
the suburbs of St. Petersburg ; and refreshments and 
music and dancing are kept up all the warm season. 

Notwithstanding my father had taken so much trouble 
and expense to have me taught French, saying to me I 
might some day have use for it abroad, by the time I 
had such use for it, I had almost entirely forgotten it. 
So, as I had but short and unimportant correspondence 
with Gortchacow, I wrote in French, trusting, for its cor- 
rectness, to my attacJie, Mr. Williams, whom I took from 
the New York Evening Post establishment to accompany 
me, and teach my younger children, as well as myself, 
French. He revised all my letters. But, when I came back 
to the United States, I learned that Mr. Sumner had been 
reporting that Gortchacow said he understood my English 
better than my French. 

Thus a continual espionage was kept up ; and every 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. ^6^ 

incident turned to my disadvantage. The worst part of it, 
however, was its truth. Gortchacow understood English 
perfectly, and spoke it as well as I did. So, when I re- 
turned to St. Petersburg, I dropped the French, and wrote 
afterward in English only. As I improved in the lan- 
guage, I observed grave errors in my correspondence ; and 
was very sorry that I trusted in my friend Williams's 
French scholarship. So there were many calumnies whis- 
pered about my business operations in Russia, which, 
never having been put into writing or print, I never 
thought worthy of notice. 

I, who had spent a large fortune in the Republican 
cause, and being at one time more than sixty thousand 
dollars in debt, and who had paid every dollar of this 
indebtedness, principal and interest, did not, and do not 
now, think that any dishonesty could ever, living or dying, 
attach to my name. And I only now say that no man, 
living or dead, has ever, to my knowledge, at any time, 
accused me of dishonesty in business ; and if they have 
so done, or shall do so hereafter, I say that all such accu- 
sations are as false as those other calumnies which I have 
so signally disproved. 

But I have blows to give as well as to receive ; and 
am very well content with the issue. During the Crimean 
War it was understood in America that Russia wanted 
especially powder, and, perhaps, arms ; and would pay well 
for them if delivered there, which could only be done, of 
course, by running the blockade by sea. One Captain 
Benj. Perkins, of New England, put up some powder and 
arms in a vessel, on the pretense that he had a contract 
with the Russian Minister at Washington, Mr. Stoekl, for 
the delivery of the same. The sum claimed (after the 
war had ceased, and the goods no longer wanted,) for 
damages was, if I remember aright, quite small — not 
over fifty thousand dollars ; for no powder or arms had 
been delivered. 

Perkins, suing Lilienfeldt, the Russian arms-agent in 



364 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

America, could produce no proof, and was glad to com- 
promise the matter in the New York courts by receiving 
two hundred dollars. This, of course, settled the matter' 
forever. But, as Perkins pretended that he had gone to 
much expense in getting up the cargo (which was never 
proved), he induced the Secretary of State, Lewis Cass, 
to write to our minister at St. Petersburg to lay the case 
before the Russian Government — " not as a claim" at 
all, but as a possible ground for a gratuity ; as Perkins 
was insolvent. Of course, it all came to nothing. 

In the meantime Perkins died, and his widow gave or 
sold her claim to Joseph B. Stewart of Washington City, 
who formed, as Catacazy, the Russian Minister, asserts, a 
joint-stock company, with a capital of $800,000. But a 
very different Secretary of State from Lewis Cass had 
been put at the head of the Cabinet of Mr. Lincoln — a 
man educated in the corrupt Albany-school of politics ; 
and who, for the first time, imported that execrable sys- 
tem into Washington ; and which infested the whole Re- 
publican Party with the virus of dishonor and death ! — 
that man was Wm. H. Seward. 

The Perkins' swindle was thereupon revamped and en- 
larged, as was the custom in Washington, till it was strong 
enough to carry finally the venal Ames party in its favor; 
and Seward stood god-father to the new-born monster. 
For the first time it was then urged as a legitimate claim, 
based on contract, and so presented anew to the Russian 
Government. 

I knew nothing about the matter; and when I was at 
St. Petersburg ordered, by Secretary Seward, to present 
it to Gortchacow, I read it carefully, and, finding it, by 
his own best showing, to be a swindle, made out of whole 
cloth, I refused to present it; and so wrote to Seward, 
giving him the reason. The upshot of the matter was 
that I lost my place, and was recalled, under the false 
statement to Lincoln that I desired to return home. (See 
President Lincoln's statement, p. 303.) And, as I have 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 365 

not room for repetition, I refer my readers to the follow- 
ing statement of the Russian Minister, Catacazy : 

THE RUSSIAN MINISTER'S LETTER TO CHIEF JUSTICE CHASE. 

Sir: — Article three, second section of the Constitution of the 
United States, establishes the competence of the federal Supreme 
Court "in all cases affecting Embassadors, other public Ministers, 
and Consuls." 

In virtue of this Constitutional clause I would have the right 
to claim from the federal Supreme Court justice and reparation for 
the acts against my honor and my interests committed by Mr. 
Hamilton Fish in the exercise of his functions of federal Secretary 
of State at the epoch when I had the honor of being Envoy Ex- 
traordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Majesty the Empe- 
ror of all the Russias in the United States. 

But while I was clothed with that character the duties of my 
position forbade all such recourse to justice, as well as all public 
refutation of the arbitrary and outrageous assertions set forth by 
the federal Secretary of State in official documents given the great- 
est publicity. 

I would have compromised the interests which had been con- 
fided to me in thus engaging the imperial government in a per- 
sonal incident, which could not and ought not to influence in any 
way the relations between the two countries, which are happily 
sheltered from every attack of intrigue or of personal ill-will. 

The Emperor, my august master, having deigned to very gra- 
ciously relieve me, at my own request, from my diplomatic func- 
tions, I enter again into the possession of the rights inalienable in 
every man to claim and obtain justice. 

I will use this right, however, only within very restricted limits. 

I do not intend to begin a formal suit for "malicious slander" 
against Mr. Hamilton Fish, because the American law pronounces 
on this head no penalty but a pecuniary compensation to the com- 
plainant, and I am not able to face an eventuality of that nature. 
A functionary who has had the distinguished honor to represent 
His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias, does not accept pecu- 
niary compensation. He is able to claim only moral reparation; 
and that is what I am about to secure in placing under your equi- 
table auspices, sir, an authentic expose of the facts which have been 
so profoundly altered by the Secretary of State, H. Fish, in official 
documents. 



366 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

The federal Supreme Court has for its mission to watch over 
the maintenance of the American Constitution. Among the prin- 
ciples serving as the base of that Constitution there is not one 
more important or more sacred than that establishing that justice 
must be accessible to all the world, without distinction of origin, 
of nationality, or of position. 

Called, by the esteem and confidence of your fellow-citizens to 
preside over that court, you are, sir, the supreme magistrate of 
the Union, and the most authorized interpreter of the letter and 
the spirit of the laws which rule your country. Under this title 
you will be very willing, I hope, to take into consideration the 
exceptional conditions in which was placed a man who, on one 
side, was powerless to engage in a formal procedure without com- 
promising interests more grave than those of a personal defense; 
and who, on the other, finds it impossible to vindicate his out- 
raged honor otherwise than in placing under the auspices of the 
most respected authority in the United States the demonstration 
of the inanity of the charges produced against him. 

I will strive now to expose the acts of which I have so griev- 
ously to complain, while avoiding all irritating polemics, and ob- 
serving the respect due to the eminent functions that Mr. H. Fish 
formerly filled. 

I can not avoid, nevertheless, establishing, right at the outset, 
that, in a note addressed to Mr. Curtin, Minister of the United 
States at St. Petersburg, under date of the 16th November, 1871, 
and in several other documents submitted to Congress the 6th 
December, 1871, Mr. Hamilton Fish has willfully sent forth erro- 
neous assertions, with the evident purpose of provoking my recall 
from the post which had been confided to me, and of striking a 
blow at my character and personal honor. 

I am accused in these documents : — 

First. Of having abused my diplomatic privileges and immu- 
nities in denouncing, with violence and coarseness, persons inter- 
ested in the soi-disant claim of the American citizen, Perkins. 

Second. Of having interfered in questions which did not con- 
cern me to Senators and members of Congress; and of having 
bored and importuned them with solicitations fettering the free 
course of legislation. 

Third. Of having attacked the President of the United States 
and federal functionaries in newspaper articles written at my dicta- 
tion and bearing corrections in my handwriting, or inspired by me; 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 367 

and of having falsely affirmed, on my honor as a gentleman, as 
well as in my quality of Christian and representative of His Majesty 
the Emperor of all the Russias, that I had not taken any part in 
those publications. 

Fourth. Of having used importunity in demanding to be re- 
ceived by the President at his summer-residence, at Long Branch; 
and of having given to the Imperial Cabinet an inexact account 
of my interview with His Excellency. 

Fifth. Of having tried to hinder the success of the negotia- 
tions between the Federal Government and that of Her Britannic 
Majesty; and of having shown myself hostile to the Treaty of 
Washington. 

Sixth. Of having committed divers other acts which are not 
specified is the dispatch of the 16th of November, 1871, but of 
which Mr. Hamilton Fish has made mention, either in other docu- 
ments, or in verbal explanations with myself. 

Such are in brief the accusations produced against me, and of 
which I am now about to show the inanity in submitting them, 
one by one, to the most scrupulous examination ; and in produc- 
ing, in support of my assertions, proofs of which the authenticity 
may be verified by any one whom you may designate for that 
purpose, Mr. President of the federal Supreme Court. 

FIRST COUNT. 

The promoters of the enterprise generally known under the 
name of the "Perkins' Claim" have exposed their pretended 
rights in a voluminous compilation, which numbers several hun- 
dreds of pages. The affair may be reviewed in a few words: 

A merchant captain by the name of Benjamin Perkins asso- 
ciated himself, in 1855, with a Polish Jew by the name of Raki- 
elvitch, a dismissed agent of the secret police of New York, as 
well as with a Mr. Kidder, a doctor of medicine and a merchant 
in gas-piping, in order to extort money from my predecessor in 
the United States, Mr. Stoekl, in proposing to him to furnish 
powder and arms for the Imperial Government. 

Mr. Stoekl declined these offers ; while, as to the powder and 
the arms, he sent Mr. Perkins to our military agent in the United 
States, Captain Lilienfeldt. 

This latter gentleman accepted conditionally the proposition of 
a contract for 35,000 carbines — that is to say, he accepted it, 
while reserving expressly the right to annul this preliminary en- 



3 



68 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 



gagement. Being assured of the insolvency of Mr. Perkins, and 
of his inability to fulfill the projected engagement, Captain Lilien- 
feldt availed himself of this privilege of cancelling the contract by 
declaring in writing to Mr. Perkins that their preliminary conver- 
sations must be considered as null and void. 

Not one grain of powder, not one carbine, was ever delivered 
to the Imperial Government; and in spite of a judgment without 
appeal of the Supreme Court of New York — a judgment to which 
Mr. Perkins adhered while receiving, under the name of an amica- 
ble compromise, a sum of $200 — his heirs formulated his rights 
after his death into a claim amounting to $800,000. 

The widow Perkins ceded these pretended rights in considera- 
tion of a small compensation to an advocate named J. B. Stewart. 
In order to assure the success of this enterprise, Mr. J. B. Stewart 
placed it in shares, which he disposed of at a low rate, in such a 
manner as to create powerful protectors interested in realizing the 
nominal amount of their value. 

From 1855 to 1869 the Federal Government made, on three 
different occasions, advances, more or less earnest, in order to sup- 
port this pretended claim. The Imperial Cabinet responded to it, 
with all the respect due to the demands of a friendly government, 
by refusals grounded on the absence of all proof and of all justice. 

Soon after the accession of General Grant to the supreme mag- 
istracy of the Union, the federal Secretary of State proposed to 
the Imperial Cabinet to submit the question to an arbitration. 

The Emperor, my august master, deigned to name me at this 
time his representative to the United States. Before furnishing me 
with my instructions, his majesty ordered an investigation to be in- 
stituted in order to thoroughly sound the Perkins' affair. Of this 
investigation I was named reporter. The Chancellor of the Empire 
signified to me, in the following terms, the orders of his majesty: 

"The Emperor," said he, "wishes that you should proceed in 
this matter with the most scrupulous impartiality. If, in right, or 
even in equity, we owe any thing, whether a dollar or a million 
of dollars, we ought to pay without hesitating; but if this is an 
attempt at extortion, destitute of any just basis, we must not lend 
ourselves to it, despite our desire to be agreeable to the federal 
government." 

It was in this disposition that the Commission of Inquiry set to 
work. I must add that, for my part, I brought to it a sincere de- 
sire to find some way of resolving amicably an affair which I foresaw 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 369 

would bring about grave difficulties in the accomplishment of my 
mission. 

The labors of the investigation ended in the evident demonstra- 
tion of the complete inanity of this claim. My instructions pre- 
scribed to me in consequence to explain to the Cabinet at Wash- 
ington, in categorical though friendly terms, the reasons which made 
it impossible for the Imperial Cabinet to satisfy the pretended Per- 
kins' Claim, or to submit it, in the absence of any just ground for 
it, to an arbitration. 

On my arrival at Washington, Mr. J. B. Stewart and his partner, 
Mr. L. Tassistro, demanded an interview with me, alleging, as the 
ground of their request, "their desire to produce new proof in 
support of their claim," and complaining of having never been 
understood by my predecessor. I did not believe it my duty to 
decline this interview with the Perkins' advocates. Mr. Tassistro 
was the first to present himself, producing full authority from Mr. 
Stewart, as follows: 

' ' I take the liberty to inform you that Mr. Tassistro, the bearer 
of this letter, is now my associate in the Perkins' affair, and that he 
is authorized to bind me and my other associates by whatever he 
may do, propose, or accept." 

It is important to establish the close and undoubted unity of 
interest existing between Mr. Tassistro, a discharged employe of 
the State Department, and Mr. Stewart ; for one may estimate in 
consequence the value of the testimony which the said Tassistro has 
borne in an affair which will be spoken of further on. 

This individual began by proposing to me to enter into discus- 
sions for a compromise as to the amount of the claim, making me 
at the same time understand that an agreement could be arrived at 
in consideration of a few thousand dollars. I declined peremptorily 
all idea of compromise. 

Passing thence to another subject, Mr. Tassistro proposed to me 
to acquire, at a low price, by his mediation and that of Mr. Stewart, 
three millions of obligations of the Credit Foncier de Pologne, stolen 
by a burglary in 1863, upon the Bank of Varsovie, recently imported 
into America, and which had been thrown upon the market of New 
York. I declined this offer also, no less peremptorily. 

A few days after Mr. Stewart presented himself at my house. 
Without producing any new proof, he tried to convert mc to the 
idea of a compromise in saying that "the support of the adminis- 
tration was gained to their cause; that Judge Dent, the brother-in- 
Vol. I. — 24 



370 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

law of the President, was interested in it; and that, if I made too 
much opposition, they would find means to break my neck." 

I received, with the same indifference, these offers of compro- 
promise and these menaces. The day after, Mr. J. B. Stewart sent 
me a so-called affidavit of the interview, in which he attributed to 
me proposals that I had not made ; and by which, if made, I would 
have recognized the validity of the Perkins' Claim. 

Knowing with whom I had business, I had taken precautions. 
A person placed in the next room had taken a note of the conver- 
sation ; and Mr. Stewart, forced to submit to the truth, saw fit to 
withdraw his false affidavit. After this I forbade to the advocates 
of the widow Perkins access to my house, and I answered none of 
their written communications. 

Five months after — that is to say the 14th of March, 1870 — I 
had a confidential interview with Mr. Hamilton Fish, of which I 
have rendered an account to the Chancellor of the Empire, Prince 
Gortchacow, in a report of the 21st of March, given below in the 
appendix. 

It appears from this report: 

That Mr. Stewart had sent back to the President, by the medi- 
ation of Mr. Dent, brother-in-law of General Grant, dispatches which 
had been attributed to me. 

That, in the faith of a false telegraphic rumor, spread at this 
time in the United States, announcing the retirement of Prince 
Gortchacow and his replacement by General Ignatief, these pre- 
tended dispatches, of an inadmissible tenor, and which had been 
exchanged between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and myself, 
were placed under the eyes of the President, with the end of preju- 
dicing him against the Minister of Russia; and, in short, 

That the Secretary of State, while recognizing the apocryphal 
character of these dispatches, was not willing to begin suit against 
the authors of these wrongs, "in order to avoid scandal," and under 
the pretext of the legal impossibility of being severe upon them. 

At last Mr. Fish told me, some days after, that he had had 
Messrs. Stewart and Tassistro before him, in order to interrogate 
them on the manner in which the dispatches had been procured, 
and that they had affirmed that they held them from the First Sec- 
retary of the Imperial Russian Legation. 

I protested energetically against an assertion so calumnious. I 
said to Mr. Hamilton Fish, that it seemed to me impossible that 
people, even of that character, should dare to attribute to an em- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 37 1 

ploye, whose honor had always been undisputed, such an act. I 
demanded of him, indeed, if he had not made a mistake, and if it 
was not some other individual bearing the same name that had 
been designated. 

"No, no," replied Mr. Fish, "it is very certainly of the First 
Secretary of your Legation that they have spoken ; for they have said 
that it has been in order to succeed you that he has betrayed you." 

Informed immediately by myself of the fact of this odious im- 
putation, the First Secretary of the Imperial Legation presented 
himself with two lawyers at the house of Mr. Tassistro, and ob- 
tained from him a formal retraction. A similar step was taken, 
with the same result, with Mr. J. R. Stewart. 

I transmitted the affidavits of these interviews to the Secretary 
of State, while praying him in a letter (a copy of which is given in 
the appendix,) to severely punish the culprits. Under different pre- 
texts Mr. Fish declined all pursuit and all inquiry. 

Encouraged by impunity, the advocates of the widow Perkins 
and their protectors had these false dispatches printed, after having 
eliminated from them the most improbable passages, and distributed 
them among the members of Congress, in order to provoke a senti- 
ment in favor of the enterprise. 

I saw myself then under the necessity to ask, by an official note 
of the 2 1st of May (copy given in the appendix), a judicial pursuit 
of the guilty parties. This note remained without reply; and, on 
my officially pressing the matter on the nth of June, 1871, inspired 
by the publication of the false dispatches in the journals, Mr. Fish 
explained his silence in a note of the 16th of June, 1871, by "one 
of those negligences- which occur sometimes in the administration 
of a department which conducts a vast correspondence." 

I will limit myself to mention, in addition, the anonymous letter 
containing threats of death, as well as the attacks of every descrip- 
tion in the press, of which the advocates of the widow Perkins and 
their protectors have pursued me, up till what they have stated as 
their avowed end — my departure from the United States. 

If I have felt it my duty to enter into these fatiguing and re- 
pugnant details, it is because it is important to establish in an 
unanswerable manner : 

First. That the pretended Perkins' Claim is the real and deter- 
mining cause of the exceptional animosity of which I have been the 
object. 

Second. That Mr. Fish was not ignorant of the misdeeds of 



372 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

the promoters of this fraudulent enterprise ; and that, in conse- 
quence, he had no right to affirm, as he has done in an official 
document, on the faith of the interested evidence of Mr. Tassistro, 
' ' that the advocates of the widow Perkins fell innocently into a 
trap" that I had planned for them. 

Third. That in characterizing Messrs. Stewart and Tassistro in 
my official communication as "audacious forgers" and "men capa- 
ble of any thing," I have not abused my diplomatic immunities, 
but have only exercised an incontestable right to acquit myself of 
an imperious duty — that of defending the interests which had been 
confided to me. 

SECOND COUNT.* 
•%. ■%. ;fs :£ % %. %. 

Having learned that I had been charged to buy in New York a 
piece of ground for the building of an orthodox church, Mr. H. 
Fish, who possessed some real-estate property, wished me to bid, 
which will be seen by the letter given below, for two lots of ground, 
which he desired to sell for forty odd thousand dollars ; and he car- 
ried this obliging readiness to the point of suggesting, in the post- 
script of that letter, ' ' to proceed with the transaction without the 
intermeddling of agents, in order to save ourselves several hundreds 
of dollars." It was impossible for me to profit by this proposition, 
the land in question having been appraised by competent persons at 
half the price demanded, and another piece of ground, well situated, 
having been offered for $20,000 

THIRD COUNT. 

In accusing me of having attacked, or caused to be attacked, in 
the press, some of the federal officials, Mr. H. Fish tersely says: 
' ' That on one occasion Mr. Catacazy went so far as to write to the 
press under his own signature." This assertion has been brought 
out in such a manner as to make it appear that I published some 
article in a newspaper under my signature. But, in reality, it is this: 

That the National Republican, of Washington, which is said to 
have some attaches connected with the administration, having pub- 
lished, February 26, 1870 (it should be remarked this was a few 
days before the presentation of the false dispatches), an article upon 
the Perkins' Claim, full of violent attacks against the representative 
of the Emperor at Washington, General Clay, late Minister of the 

-The subject matter of the "Second Count," except the paragraph here given, 
is omitted, as not proper to be introduced in this work. — C, 1SS5. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 373 

United States at St. Petersburg, spontaneously addressed me the 
letter (see affix letter E), from which I reproduce the following 
passage : 

"I am persuaded that if the President and the people of the 
United States could know the facts (concerning the Perkins' Claim,) 
as they exist, they would unanimously agree to forget that affair, 
and save the nation from dishonor, injustice, and ingratitude." 

I replied to General Clay by the letter herewith (affix letter F), 
where I said, among other things: 

' ' Whatever may be the sum claimed, Russia would be willing, 
I assure you, to pay it. As regards American citizens, especially, 
she is disposed to act with liberality more than otherwise. But this 
is not a question of money, it is a question of principle. We may 
not be able to admit that they impose on us, and that they continu- 
ally harass us with claims which are only based upon assertions of 
interested persons. Between nations, as between individuals, friend- 
ship ought to be the basis for respect and a wise discretion." 

I remember chiefly that it was on my own account that this cor- 
respondence has been made public; and I think I have but done 
my duty in profiting by an occasion which was offered by an old 
Minister of the United States, in order to correct public opinion 
upon the real points of this affair, of which the official organs have 
published the most inexact and the most outrageous statements, 
and in order to maintain the good relations between the two coun- 
tries. 

I made of these unmerited suspicions an absolute 
and explicit denial in a private letter dated December 1, 1870, 
which was produced among the documents submitted to Congress, 
but with the omission of the most significant passages. Twenty- 
four hours afterward the Secretary of State expressed to me, in the 
annexed letter, the "entire satisfaction of the President," and his 
own satisfaction with my assurances. This letter of the Secretary 
of State was inserted in the collection of documents submitted to 
Congress. In general, the collection was compiled in a manner 
calculated to conceal the truth completely. The most important 
papers have been omitted; others have been garbled. 

On May 25, 1871, Mr. Hamilton Fish thought proper to recall 
the subject, in spite of this exchange of explanations and his written 
assurances that they had been entirely satisfactory to the President. 
He told me again that he believed me to be the author of the 
article in the World of November 29, 1870. I could only oppose 



374 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

a still more energetic denial to this ' arbitrary assertion, and warn 
the Secretary of State against the intrigues of persons interested in 
raising difficulties between us. Having received, a few days before, 
an anonymous letter, in which I was notified, with threats and in- 
sults, that a numerous association had been formed to accomplish, 
at any price, my expulsion from America, I showed it to the Sec- 
retary of State, telling him at the same time that he was enabled 
to convince himself of the means to which my calumniators had 
taken recourse. Mr. Fish read this letter, and returned it to me, 
saying: "Indeed, this is not polite; but do you know what I am 
persistently told? It is that you address anonymous letters to your- 
self, in order to discredit, in my opinion, the Perkins' counsel." 

It was impossible to continue a conversation which my interlo- 
cutor led on such a ground. I was necessarily reduced to ask my- 
self whether I was in the presence of one afflicted with mental aber- 
ration, or bent on provocation. In this doubt I thought it prudent 
to retire, after having told Mr. Fish that my dignity did not permit 
me to reply to such imputations. 

Four days later, on May 30, 1 871, all the official press organs 
were led to publish very violent articles against me — articles which 
had been communicated by the State Department to the Associated 
Press in Washington. 

On three different occasions did I address myself to the Secretary 
of State in order to induce him to adopt a more equitable conduct. 
Far from complying, Mr. Fish persisted in his system of arbitrary 
and insulting accusations. A journalist named Piatt having sent to 
a Cincinnati paper a letter which was very hostile to the President, 
the Secretary of State had nothing more pressing to do than to 
attribute it to me. He charged me, moreover, with being hostile 
to the negotiations opened between the Federal Government and 
the government of Her Britannic Majesty. After having exhausted 
all the means of persuasion and conciliation, I addressed to Mr. Fish 
the annexed letter, dated June 13, 1871: 

"If I had only consulted," I said in this letter, "my own legiti- 
mate susceptibilities, I should give up the hope of inducing you to 
act with more justice and benevolence with regard to me. But the 
private individual must, under certain circumstances, sacrifice his 
self-respect to the official. I am a Minister to the Emperor, sir; 
and, as such, I must exhaust all the means of conciliation before 
taking resolutions which might compromise the friendly relations ex- 
isting between the two countries." 



OF CASSIUS.MARCELLUS CLAY. 375 

This appeal to the loyalty of the Secretary of State remained 
without effect. Since then, until the time of my departure, the 
journals, inspired by the administration, attacked me most violently 
in articles of which it was impossible to mistake the official origin ; 
for several of them coincided literally with the official communica- 
tions of the Secretary of State. 

On June 16, 1871, Mr. Hamilton Fish addressed to me an offi- 
cial note on the Perkins' affair, in which he attempted to free the 
counsel for that case of all responsibility for the fabrication of the 
forged dispatches which had been attributed to me. He concluded 
thus: 

"No one knows better than you, sir, the license practiced by a 
part of the press of this country in speaking of individuals occupy- 
ing official positions, and the means adopted by those who institute 
sensational articles of a personal nature, which appear only too 
often, as you are well aware, also. Many of them contain insult- 
ing attacks against the President of the United States; and they 
have been the subject of my conversations with you." 

Accusations so ill-disguised could not remain without an answer. 
In the annexed letter I replied, asking the Secretary of State "per- 
mission, not to place myself upon the ground of inuendoes, but 
on that of frank cordiality, from which I am enjoined by my august 
master not to depart in my relations with the Federal Government." 

In spite of my formal assurances and the preceding explana- 
tions, Mr. Fish wanted, at any price, to attribute to me the pater- 
nity of the article of the World of November 29, 1870. It appears, 
from the collection of American documents submitted to Congress, 
that the Secretary of State addressed a letter, on the 25 th of Oc- 
tober, 1 87 1, to a certain Mr. G. Adams, in which he charges him, 
"in the name of the duties of honor and patriotism, to depose in 
writing when and under what circumstances M. Catacazy has par- 
ticipated in the publication of the article in the Wor/d." Mr. G. 
Adams yielded with great zeal to this fervent exhortation. Two 
days afterward he deposed in writing, by a letter addressed to the 
Secretary of State, "that the article in question had been written 
under the dictation of M. Catacazy; had been kept by him for a 
few days and returned, with notes and corrections in the hand- 
writing of the Minister of Russia." 

I had never had relations of any kind, neither direct nor indi- 
rect, with Mr. G. Adams. 

A few days before my departure from Washington, I sent him, 



376 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

through an honorable lawyer, Mr. Chandler, the annexed letter, by 
which I invited him to be confronted with me in the presence of 
.witnesses, in order to establish when and where he had seen me, 
or had had relations with me. I notified him at the same time, 
that I would deposit with my banker the sum of #3,000, to be 
distributed among the poor in Washington, if any article was pro- 
duced which bore notes and corrections in my handwriting. Mr. 
G. Adams declined this interview by informing me, through Mr. 
Chandler, "That he was too sure of the facts alleged by him to 
need verifying them; that he had not been at my house himself, 
and that, in truth, he had never seen me; but that one of his 
friends, at present in South America, had served as intermediary, 
and that, moreover, the manuscript corrected by my own hand 
had been lost or destroyed." 

The second witness, who, as it appears from the collection of 
American documents, had deposed, in compliance with the re- 
peated and pressing requests of the Secretary of State, is a Mr. 
Turk, who is related to the family of Mr. Hamilton Fish, and 
who has been employed for more than two years as counsel at 
the Imperial Legation. This Mr. Turk has deposed that I had 
avowed to him my participation in the article of a Cincinnati jour- 
nal containing attacks against the President of the United States. 

By a lucky chance I have preserved the minutes of a letter to 
Mr. Hamilton Fish, written entirely in the handwriting of this same 
Mr. F. Turk, under my dictation, and in which I affirmed precisely 
the reverse of what he had deposed he had been told by me. 

The following fact proves the little confidence these depositions 
inspire in Mr. Fish himself, drawn out though they have been by 
his exhortations to the sentiments of "honor and patriotism" of 
Messrs. Adams and Turk. 

At the moment when *I was about to leave Washington, the 
Secretary of State let me know that if I did not take the formal 
engagement not to prosecute Messrs. Adams and Turk, and not 
to justify myself before the Imperial Cabinet, he would suspend 
my diplomatic immunities, and authorize the Perkins' lawyers to 
arrest me. 

In reply to the observation made to him that this would be a 
violation of international law, the Secretary of State said: "In- 
ternational law is very elastic; and, besides, these men have testi- 
fied at my request. I must protect them against the prosecution 
of M. de Catacazy. " 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. ^JJ 

Having no attention to' prosecute individuals who have only 
acted as tools to those who have employed them, I declared that 
I did not want to bring an action for false testimony against Messrs. 
Adams and Turk ; but I reserved for myself the right of exposing 
to the Imperial Cabinet, and to the American people, the pro- 
ceedings of Mr. Hamilton Fish. 

The Secretary of State also charged me, on several occasions, 
with having inspired articles of the journalist named Piatt, as well 
as articles published by the editor of the Herald, the Sim, and the 
Tribune of New York. I herewith annex the letters of Messrs. 
Piatt, Bennett, Greeley, and Dana, in which these gentlemen tes- 
tify to the contrary. It is evident from these letters that I have 
never had any relations with Messrs. Piatt and Dana, and that in 
the intercourse which I have had the pleasure of holding with Mr. 
Horace Greeley and Mr. James Gordon Bennett, I have never 
departed from the reserve and discretion which are befitting a 
diplomatic functionary. I would, moreover, have replied to the 
arbitrary imputations of Mr. Hamilton Fish by the positive proof 
that he himself, and his subordinate, Mr. Bancroft Davis, had 
taken part in the writing and the circulation of the outrageous 
articles which have been published against me during six months, 
and to which I have only replied by the silence of contempt. I 
have in my possession eighty-three articles of this kind, bearing 
evident traces of their official origin ; but their reproduction would 
be both too voluminous and too repulsive. I should, moreover, 
fail in the respect due to you, Mr. President of the Supreme 
Court, were I to inflict upon you the reading of these contempti- 
ble animadversions. 

FOURTH COUNT. 

On July 31, 1 87 1, Mr. Fish thought proper to address a note 
to me concerning the Perkins' affair. The tenor of this communi- 
cation was absolutely unacceptable, for it contained a denial which 
was both discourteous and unmerited. I could not, without failing 
in my duty, preserve such a document in the archives of the Im- 
perial Legation. As this note was subsequently withdrawn, I have 
no right to reproduce it; but I am compelled to mention it to 
justify the step which I took with regard to the President of the 
United States. It became more and more evident that, in the 
face of such persistent provocations, the interests of the govern- 
ment of the Emperor, as well as my personal dignity, permitted 
me no longer to remain in the United States. I had begun in 



378 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

the diplomatic career as Second Secretary of Legation at Wash- 
ington. President Grant himself stated, when he received my cre- 
dentials, that "I had left there pleasant recollections." On my 
part, I had carried with me sentiments of the most profound re- 
spect for the American people, as well as the conviction that there 
is a similarity between the interests of Russia and America. Dur- 
ing the whole course of my diplomatic career I have not missed a 
single opportunity to assert this conviction. 

When the great majority of European governments doubted 
the issue of the War of the Union ; when men of high political 
position called it "The Disunited States of America," I wrote in 
a document, in i860, that the Union will come out triumphant. 
Such were the sentiments and opinions which recommended me 
to the choice of the Emperor, my august master, as Minister to 
the United States. I could not, unless I failed to do my duty 
and contradicted myself, pursue any other object than the con- 
solidation of the ties of friendship established between the two 
countries, which — I repeat it — can not be disturbed by the in- 
trigues and the malevolence of individuals. 

A fraudulent enterprise, and the intrigues which I have de- 
scribed, were the rocks on which these good intentions were 
wrecked. Already, in the month of July, 1871, I requested of 
the Imperial Cabinet to be relieved of a post where I could be 
no longer of any utility, because of the personal hostility of the 
Secretary of State. Before I could be relieved of my post there 
remained, however, an important duty for me to perform. His 
Imperial Highness, the Grand Duke Alexis, was about to arrive 
in the United States. I was firmly convinced that the American 
people would give the son of the Emperor a reception, the cor- 
diality of which would largely compensate for the personal rude- 
ness of Mr. Fish. 

The Secretary of State foresaw it also, and he did all in his 
power to prevent these demonstrations of gratitude and national 
sympathy. While his organs attempted to obstruct the prepara- 
tions for the reception made by the citizens of New York and 
Boston, Mr. Fish informed me by an official note that if I was 
not recalled immediately he would send me my passports. An 
act so unjustifiable might have exercised a bad influence upon the 
relations of the two countries. It might have prevented the visit 
of his Imperial Highness. I was consequently obliged to do all 
in my power to prevent such an emergency. For the very reason 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 379 

that Mr. Fish doubled his provocations, I was obliged to thwart 
his efforts by an increase of moderation, which would have been 
excessive and undignified if the interests of Russia had not been 
in question. I imposed silence on my susceptibilities, and post- 
poned the vindication of my personal dignity to another period. 
I asked an interview of the Secretary of St~te by the annexed 
letter, which has not been placed among the collection of Amer- 
ican documents. 

The interview I requested took place on August 16th, 1871. 
I began by telling Mr. Fish that, considering the point at which 
matters had arrived, I had thought it best to request the Em- 
peror to relieve me of my post. 

"Your purpose," I said, "is attained. You will soon be re- 
lieved of my presence. I can assure you I am as much in haste 
to leave the United States as you are to see me depart. But 
you may well understand that on the eve of the arrival of the 
Grand Duke Alexis the Minister of the Emperor can not leave 
his post. It seems to me, in the meantime, you might observe 
the outward respect due between gentlemen. The Indians them- 
selves bury their tomahawks at the arrival of a national guest. 
Since you will not have peace, let us have at least an armistice. 
Do not address to me any more notes which I can not receive, 
and cease the daily insults in your official organs." 

The Secretary of State replied to this loyal and pressing appeal 
by excessive rudeness. He declared to me in plain language that 
if I was not relieved immediately he would send me my pass- 
ports. 

"You can act as you please," I replied; "but I repudiate all 
responsibility for the consequences. Be assured that the American 
people, who are your sovereign, will disapprove of this gratuitous 
provocation when they will know the truth. For my part, I do 
not want to have any thing to reproach to myself before the Em- 
peror, my master. I shall go as far as possible — farther even 
than I, perhaps, ought to go — in the path of reconciliation by 
making you the following proposition : You ground your action 
with regard to me on the belief that I had attacked the President 
in the press, and sought to obstruct the negotiations with Eng- 
land. I have positively repelled these accusations. You persist 
in sustaining them without a single proof. I offer to submit the 
differences to a jury of honor, composed of impartial persons, en- 
joying the confidence of the President, and chosen among your 



380 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

own fellow-citizens. If the jury sustains the charges brought against 
me, I engage myself in advance to present my resignation by tele- 
graph. If, however, the jury finds that you are in error, I ask no 
other reparation than the loyal acknowledgment of this error, and 
the withdrawal of your last note." 

Mr. Fish drily repelled this proposition, saying that "no jury 
could prove that he was in the wrong." I can not produce a 
written proof of this interview; but Senator Cameron, to whom I 
addressed myself a few days afterward, in his capacity of President 
of the Committee on Foreign Relations, will testify that I had 
spoken to him of this proposition, and the refusal of Mr. Fish. 
Mr. Cameron expressed to me in a letter his regret at the failure 
of the steps I had taken. In the face of the obstinate malevo- 
lence of Mr. Fish there remained to me no other resource than 
to appeal to the President. I proceeded to Long Branch, where 
His Excellency resided. I addressed myself to General Porter, 
the Secretary of the President. I described to him the situation, 
saying : "I will not make use of the right I have to ask an audi- 
ence of the President; but, if His Excellency could be informed 
of my arrival, if he expressed the desire to see me, I should be 
happy to present myself before him." 

Two hours later General Porter came to my hotel to inform me 
that the President would be happy to see me at his cottage between 
four and five o'clock. "Only," said the General, "make no formal 
complaint against the Secretary of State ; for it would place the 
President in an embarrassing position." 

Diplomatic reserve and the respect due to the Chief Magistrate, 
to whom I have had the honor of being accredited, do not permit 
me to report the interview with His Excellency. 

Mr. Fish has thought proper to affirm in his dispatch of No- 
vember 16, 1 87 1, that the President had begun by refusing the 
interview; that His Excellency had peremptorily interrupted me 
when I attempted to speak of my relations with the Secretary of 
State, and that the General had treated me with coolness, without 
even replying to my salutation. 

I can not silently acquiesce in assertions calculated to give the 
impression that the President of the United States had failed in the 
respect due to the representative of the Emperor. I affirm that 
General Grant was perfectly courteous and attentive to all I said to 
him. The result proves that the aim I pursued has been attained. 
In spite of all the efforts of Mr. Fish, the journey of the Grand 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 38 I 

Duke has been accomplished in the most satisfactory manner. His 
Imperial Highness, whom I have had the honor of accompanying, 
has received from the American people, if not from all the federal 
functionaries, a reception which has signally demonstrated the natu- 
ral sympathies existing between the two nations, and thwarted all 
intrigues. The incident has been kept within the bounds of a per- 
sonal conflict, and the direct or indirect damages which Mr. Fish 
supposes to have caused me are amply compensated by the con- 
sciousness that I have well served my sovereign and my country, 
without allowing myself to be swayed by considerations of wounded 
pride or personal interest. 

FIFTH COUNT. 

I have in my hands a letter from one of the most honorable 
citizens of the American Union, which attests that, toward the end 
of 1870, the lawyer, J. B. Stewart, told him that, in consequence 
of the opposition offered by Mr. Catacazy to the Perkins' Claim, 
that minister would be obliged to leave America ; that by one means 
or another he would be forced to go away, and that a number of 
interests had coalesced to arrive at this result at any cost. 

The signer of this letter, fearing the vengeance of these coal- 
esced influences, requested me not to make use of his name except 
to the Imperial Cabinet. In consequence, I am unable to make it 
public. 

It is not less true that a coterie, ready to resort to any means, 
was at work in October, 1870, to create difficulties for me with the 
Federal Government. It only succeeded imperfectly, by the com- 
bination of false dispatches. It renewed its attempts, in taking 
advantage of the negotiations opened at this epoch between the 
Cabinet of Washington and that of St. James, to create an impres- 
sion that I sought to prevent a friendly settlement of the differ- 
ences between the United States and Great Britain. Narrow and 
suspicious minds, who are unable to comprehend the breadth and 
nobleness of the political principles of the Emperor, my august 
master, persist in believing that the Imperial Cabinet speculates on 
international dissensions, and even that he sometimes strives to en- 
courage and to embitter them. These aberrations have especial 
reference to Anglo-American differences. 

Mr. H. Fish having judged it proper to raise this question, it is 
of importance to clear it up. I believe that I am not wanting in 
fitting reserve in revealing, by the narration of the following facts, 



382 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

the magnanimity and elevation of the political thought of which the 
representatives of the Emperor Alexander can only be the obedi- 
ent interpreters : 

The day when I set out from St. Petersburg to go to Wash- 
ington, Prince Gortchacow told me what follows on the subject 
of the relations between England and the United States: 

' ' Do not lose sight of the fact that we are not sowers of dis- 
cord. You will abstain carefully from encouraging the misunder- 
standings which exist between England and the United States. 
The Emperor does not desire a contemptible or hateful course of 
political action. What he wants is peace and general repose." 

By a remarkable coincidence I met, in leaving the cabinet of 
the Chancellor of the Empire, M. Rumboldt, directing at that 
time the English Embassy at St. Petersburg. As he did me the 
honor to stop me to wish me a safe journey, I repeated to him 
literally what Prince Gortchacow had just told me. I can, if neces- 
sary, refer to the testimony of this diplomatist. 

Less than a year afterward, the President of the United States 
having addressed to Congress a hostile and almost menacing letter 
in relation to England, I had, with an American statesman, whose 
name I shall withhold from motives of discretion, a conversation, 
faithfully reproduced in a report addressed to Prince Gortchacow 
the 2d of December, 1869. 

I think I am able to give a copy of it in what follows: 

"Well," said Mr. X to me, "what do you think of the 

message concerning England? We have not stroked superb Albion 
with any gentle hand. I hope they will be glad at St. Petersburg, 
where they ought to hate England as much as we do." 

In effect I answered: You have not acted over gently. Since 
you do me the honor to ask me my opinion, I shall tell it to 
you without any beating about the bush. I think that, in en- 
larging too much the range of the Alabama affair, you weaken 
your title to the compensations which are in reality due to you. 
The most impartial persons, and those the best disposed toward 
you, will be obliged to recognize that it is a quarrel that you 
seek, and not a legitimate compensation that you demand. You 
wish to place to the charge of England the expense of more than 
a year of civil war ; and, what is still more, the possible benefits 
you might have been able to realize. This, permit me to say it, 
is what we call in France making up an apothecary's bill. 

"Yes," replied Mr. X , "the amount of the account that 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 383 

we are preparing is a little high; but it is good policy to ask too 
much in order to get enough." 

I am not of that opinion, I replied. It appears to me that a 
great nation like America would refrain from having recourse to 
these mercantile finesses. It ought to count justly, affirm what is 
due to it, and not lower its demand. It should have the same 
measure for all — for proud Albion or modest Denmark. This is 
what we invariably practice at St. Petersburg ; and we have grounds 
to be satisfied with its success. Also, I tell you, because of the 
active sympathy with which you inspire me, that in Russia very 
probably they will abstain from applauding that part of the Presi- 
dential Message. We have our preference; but we hate none. 
Above all, we are not sowers of discord; and we believe that a 
conflict between you and England would be a universal calamity. 

The Chancellor of the Empire was good enough to write to 
me in an official dispatch, in answer to this report, that the Em- 
peror deigned to honor with his entire approval the language that 
I had held. 

I have not deviated one instant from the way that has been 
traced for me. While abstaining carefully from putting forward 
in public my opinion on the practical value of the combination 
designated under the name of the Treaty of Washington, and 
of which it was easy to discover the defects in knowing the ar- 
riere pensee held in reserve by Mr. Fish, I availed myself of 
every opportunity to express my sympathies in favor of a pacific 
solution. 

The day after the signing of the treaty I went to offer my feli- 
citations to Earl de Grey and to Mr. Fish. I had the honor of 
receiving at my table the men of the High Commission ; and of 
toasting the happy issue of the negotiations. The American citizen, 
Cyrus W. Field, having invited me to take part in a banquet which 
he offered to Earl de Grey and his colleagues, I answered by the 
letter marked "O" in the appendix, which was read at that ban- 
quet, and in which I offer for a toast the words of Holy Writ: 
"Blessed are the peacemakers." 

In fine, I acknowledged the receipt from the official messenger 
of two copies of the Washington Treaty in the following note of 
July 14, 1 87 1, which Mr. Fish has not thought well to insert in 
his collection of documents: 

"Sir: — The State Department has been good enough to send 
me two printed copies of the treaty concluded between the United 



# 
384 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

States and Great Britain May 8, 187 1. In thanking you for this 
interesting communication, I believe it my duty to express to you 
the cordial sympathy with which every thing that can contribute 
to the general repose, as well as to the prosperity and glory, of 
the United States will be received in Russia." 

It is in the face of facts so positive, so undeniable, that he 
could not be ignorant of them, that Mr. Fish, without producing 
any proof, thought himself justified in affirming, in an official doc- 
ument, that "Mr. Catacazy has made, and makes daily, efforts to 
embarrass and defeat the Treaty of Washington," — an accusation 
the more strange and contradictory that it emanates from the re- 
tractive author of the indirect damages. 

SIXTH COUNT. 

Among the miscellaneous accusations of Mr. Fish, there is but 
one that he has specified, in saying that ' ' Mr. Catacazy has made 
in his conversations offensive remarks against the President and 
some of the federal functionaries." 

In a conversation, on the 25th of May, 1871, the Secretary of 
State was still more explicit. He told me that it had come to his 
ears that, at a dinner given in my house, I had made remarks on 
the President and on himself that the respect due to the chief of 
a great State does not permit me to reproduce here. 

I answered Mr. Fish that nothing authorized him to attribute 
to me so complete a forgetfulness of every convenance and every 
duty; that I had striven on all occasions to evidence my profound 
respect for the President, as well as my high consideration for the 
Secretary of State ; and, finally, that I deeply regretted being acces- 
sible to idle reports which no doubt came from the same source as 
the false dispatches of the previous year. 

"No," said the Secretary of State, "it is not alone Perkins, 
the lawyers, who say so; but one of your colleagues affirms it." 

"In that case will you be good enough to name the colleague, 
and bring him face to face with me, that I may be able to con- 
found him?" 

Mr. Fish refused, saying that he could not betray confidence. 

"Then," said I, "you can ask this gentleman if he has the 
courage to repeat before me what he has told you ; and, if he 
refuses, you ought in all justice to consider him a calumniator, 
and withdraw the painful imputation that you have thought it your 
duty to cast on me." 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 385 

The Secretary of State has never seen fit to confront me with 
his authority, nor to retract his arbitrary imputations. 

In his dispatch of the 16th of November he accuses me of 
different social delinquencies. Notwithstanding all my desire to 
discover what could have caused an accusation of this nature, I 
can remember only one circumstance relative to my social relations 
incriminated by the federal Secretary of State in one of his conver- 
sations with me. 

Some time after the discussion which took place in the Senate 
in relation to the project of annexing the island of St. Domingo, 
a Washington journal, which served as a mouthpiece for the law- 
yers of the Perkins' Claim, published an article saying that I had 
encouraged Mr. Sumner to oppose the views of the President. 
Notwithstanding the absurdity of this imputation, I felt called 
upon to point out this article to the Secretary of State by a confi- 
dential letter, in which I repudiated all fellowship with the oppo- 
sition of the purchase of St. Domingo ; and I forewarned Mr. Fish 
against the use which the lawyers of the Perkins' Claim proposed 
to make of this new calumny. 

The Secretary of State told me a few days afterward that he 
had not believed in my interference in the St. Domingo affair; 
but that he saw with regret that I continued to maintain relations 
with Mr. Sumner, after the attitude he had taken in regard to the 
President. 

I answered that, having had the honor of knowing Mr. Sum- 
ner for more than twenty years, and appreciating the eminent 
qualities of that statesman, I had no reason to break with him 
because a difference of opinion had occurred in the administration 
about an affair that in no way interested Russia. 

" My instructions, " I added, "prevent me from interfering in 
any of your home questions; but tell me to retain good relations 
with all the notabilities of the country, without distinction of 
parties or opinions. Besides, Mr. Sumner is President of the Ex- 
ecutive Committee of Foreign Relations; and I must pay him all 
the respect that is due to him on this account, as well as on 
many others." 

"He will not be long president of that committee," Mr. Fish 
quickly replied. "He is a bad and a mad man, and has no 
longer any credit with the country." 

I retired, asking permission of the Secretary of State to be of 
entirely opposite opinion; and expressing my regrets at not being 
Vol. I. — 25 



386 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

able to act on his suggestions. Such is the only "infraction of 
social convenance" that has been pointed out to me by Mr. Fish. 

It is repugnant to every serious and respectable man to be 
obliged to descend into the lowest depths of gossip in order to 
dissipate its unhealthy emanations. I believe I have gone as far 
as my dignity will permit in repelling the charges made against me. 

In compensation I acquit myself of a very agreeable duty in 
bearing witness before closing my letter that, notwithstanding the 
defamatory articles published in some organs of the press during 
almost a consecutive year, and notwithstanding the accusations so 
grave formulated against me in official documents, the American 
people have discerned, with the good sense which characterizes 
them, the end and the value of these attacks, 

It would be too long to enumerate all the evidences of esteem 
and of sympathy with which I was honored up to the last moment 
of my stay in the United States. 

It suffices to say that seven governors of States, eleven mayors 
of grand towns of the Union, and a multitude of other persons 
belonging to different classes of society, have expressed to me, 
personally and by letter, their benevolent interest; and have had at 
heart to repudiate, in the name of the American people, all con- 
nection with the proceedings of my adversaries. 

Even now I daily receive letters full of expressions of sym- 
pathy. In one of them I am written to as follows : " It is above 
all to-day that your sagacity and good faith, which you displayed, 
are appreciated in discerning the schemes of Mr. Fish, and refus- 
ing to commit Russia to them." 

"One thing will result from these proceedings," said an Amer- 
ican statesman to me; "it is the demonstration of the indissolu- 
bility of the bonds of esteem and friendship which unite our two 
nations." 

Permit me, Mr. President of the Supreme Court, to cite one 
of the most touching evidences of sympathy which I received a 
few days before my departure from the United States. A Meth- 
odist pastor from Oregon, whom I have never known, was pleased 
to send me a letter couched in the following terms: 

"My Dear Sir: — I have followed with interest, in the public 
sheets, the bitter struggle which has been made against you by 
intrigue. I appreciate the calmness and serenity that you oppose 
to the outrages that have been offered to you. I will pray God 
that He will give you the strength to walk worthily to the end." 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 387 

This good prayer has been heard. Boldly, and with the con- 
science of duty accomplished, I come to claim the place which 
belongs to me in the esteem of all the honest and enlightened 
minds of a country that the bonds of living sympathy unite to 
Russia. 

You are, sir, the President of the Supreme Court, in the ranks 
of American loyalty and intelligence. As a man of honor, and as 
a magistrate, you will permit me to place this expose under your 
benevolent auspices. Accept the homage of my profound re- 
spect. Catacazy. 

The Minister supported the foregoing letter with the 
following documents in defense : 

CATACAZY TO GORTCHACOW. 

Washington, March 21, 1870. 

Prince: — On visiting the Department of State a few days ago, 
I was surprised to hear from Mr. Hamilton Fish that certain docu- 
ments that compromised me very much had been sent to the 
President. 

I requested him to tell me the nature of these documents, on 
which he took out of his pocket a number of papers, and read 
them to me privately, not officially. The first of these papers 
was a letter from J. B. Stewart, the counsel of the widow of Mr. 
Perkins, addressed to Mr. Dent, brother-in-law of the President. 
In it he said that, having obtained possession, by certain means, 
of a dispatch from the new Minister of Foreign Affairs in Russia 
to M. Catacazy, and also the answer, he requested . Mr. Dent to 
submit the document to the President, in order that His Excel- 
lency might judge for himself on the conduct of the Minister of 
Russia, and the urgent necessity of his immediate recall. 

The second paper had this title: "Translation from the origi- 
nal of a dispatch from General Ignatief to M. Catacazy." 

It ran something in this manner: "On my joining the council 
of ministers, I find by your reports to my predecessor that you 
have had the assurance not to pay the widow of Mr. Perkins the 
money sent to you for her; that, in place of that, you have taken 
measures in order to oppose this just claim with legal cunning and 
trickery. I have reported your conduct to the Emperor. His 
Majesty is indignant; and desires me to tell you that you will be 
immediately expelled from the service if you persist in this case. 



388 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

You should not forget that it was solely for Prince Gortchacow's 
sake you were sent to America. You are presuming too much 
on his kindness." 

The third paper, which was addressed by me to General Igna- 
tief, St. Petersburg, replied to the above in the following terms: 

' ' I am profoundly grieved at having incurred the displeasure 
of our Czar (sic) for trying to save His Majesty a large sum of 
money. Having gained over Mr. Hamilton Fish by some bribes 
to his son-in-law, the lawyer Webster, I was confident of success. 
What is the use of generosity or honesty in a country where 
thieves have the upper hand? Why, General Grant himself sells 
justice, and does a brisk trade in public offices. The Secretary 
of State, Fish, wealthy though he be, robs with both hands. 
Being convinced that I could save $800,000 by the judicious plac- 
ing of less than a twentieth of that sum in private, I ventured, 
despite the very strict orders of your Excellency, to ask permis- 
sion to continue to act according to the secret instructions of your 
illustrious predecessor." 

At the bottom of each document was written : " L. Tassistro, 
sworn interpreter, certifies that the translation made by him from 
the French is exact and correct." 

Having read these documents, one after the other, without 
making the slightest comment, I placed them on the table, and 
said to Mr. Fish that (fearing lest I might not be able to master 
my indignation and disgust,) I wished to defer until a future time 
what I had to say on this subject. 

The Secretary of State proposed that I should call on him at 
his house the following evening, where we could talk the matter 
over quietly. I did so, and expressed to Mr. Fish my gratitude 
for the confidence he reposed in me. 

"There is no necessity," I added, "to denounce the false- 
hoods in these documents. It would be impossible to concoct 
grosser lies. General Ignatief not having been for an hour Min- 
ister of Foreign Affairs, no communications have passed between 
us. It appears from the dates attached that they were forged 
about the time that the cable astonished the American public by 
the announcement of the pretended resignation of Prince Gort- 
chacow. It is fortunate that you have let me know about these 
things in a confidential manner. As Minister of the Emperor, 
my duty would be to suspend immediately all relations with the 
Secretary of State of the United States, and report to my gov- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 389 

ernment that some malicious persons have sent documents reflect- 
ing most injuriously on the Imperial Legation to the President; 
and that His Excellency has not thought proper to punish such 
a flagrant violation of diplomatic rights. Officially I ignore, and 
will as long as I can, this miserable occurrence. Besides," I 
added, "not only as an attack upon a foreign Minister, but it is 
a direct insult to the President himself to dare present him with 
a mess of lies and ugly insinuations against you, his Secretary of 
State." 

Mr. Fish replied that the law could only reach falsehood-mon- 
gers when they attempt to extort money, and that such was not 
the case in this instance. He could not, therefore, sue Stewart 
except for slander, and all he would gain would be to recover 
pecuniary damages. 

I saw at once the truth of his remarks; and, without insisting 
upon legal measures, I expressed a hope to Mr. Fish that, after 
this experience, he would no longer defend a cause of which the 
parties were such rascals. I have the honor to be, with profound 
respect, C. Catacazy. 

M. CATACAZY TO MR. FISH. 

Washington, April 11, 1870. 

My Dear Mr. Fish : — I have the honor of sending you an 
account of an interview, word for word, which took place yester- 
day between Signor L. Tassistro and M. Waldemar Bodisco, First 
Secretary of the Imperial Legation, with Messrs. Hugh Carpenter 
and F. Turk, two honorable American citizens, as witnesses : 

Questioned by M. Bodisco about the infamous calumny he was 
the means of spreading, Signor Tassistro positively denied having 
had any share in the matter, and declared that neither directly nor 
indirectly had M. W. Bodisco given him the pretended documents, 
nor furnished the slightest information about them. 

Mr. J. B. Stewart, questioned on the same subject, made the 
same declaration, and his statement was taken down in writing. 

In view of this double falsehood, and of the extreme importance 
of the fact, I would request of you to make Messrs. Tassistro and 
Stewart tell immediately where they got those infamous papers, in 
which a foreign representative is so wickedly slandered, so as to in- 
sure the success of the Perkins' swindle. I ask you this as a per- 
sonal favor, my dear Mr. Fish. 

As Minister to the Emperor I still ignore the existence of this 



390 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

outrageous affair; for the dignity of the character with which I am 
invested imposes upon me such weighty obligations that I would 
rather avoid them in this instance, in order to preserve the good 
feeling existing between both countries. C. Catacazy. 

Washington, May 9, 1870. 
Mr. Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State — 

Mr. J. B. Stewart, lawyer of the widow Perkins, has printed 
and distributed copies of the letter inclosed addressed to you. It 
appears that this individual pretends that he had the presumption 
to send to His Excellency, the President of the United States, two 
documents which, he says himself, he stole from the Imperial Le- 
gation. 

I can not allow myself to believe that such a flagrant insult to 
the sacred rights of an Embassador, which all nations respect, can 
be given without the President of the Federal Union delivering up 
the guilty parties to the punishment of the law. 

It is not to refute a charge so groundless, nor to protest against 
the impunity with which such criminals can carry out their nefarious 
schemes, that I have the honor to address you, Mr. Secretary of 
State. 

I am pleased to think, also, that it is entirely unnecessary for 
me to show the false character of the document that Mr. Stewart 
and his partner, Tassistro, had the impudence to attribute to me, 
and which from beginning to end is but a tissue of lies and absur- 
dities. 

The tenor of this note shows that it is a falsehood worse than 
criminal. A statesman of your ability and experience, Monsieur, 
must know at once that the representative of His Imperial Majesty 
the Emperor of all the Russias could not express himself in such 
terms as are attributed to me in speaking of the American nation 
and her high representatives. 

It is evident, too, that I could not so mention the "illustrious 
predecessor" of a Minister who has been at the head of the Im- 
perial Cabinet for fourteen years without interruption. 

The malicious insinuation that these liars attribute to me in re- 
gard to the relations which you wished to establish between me 
and your son-in-law, Mr. Webster, also shows the extent of their 
wickedness. 

If I solicit your interference, Mr. Secretary of State, it is be- 
cause I have heard that J. B. Stewart and L. Tassistro have circu- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 39I 

lated this document among the members of Congress, and that in 
view of the friendly relations existing between our two countries it 
is necessary to refute such slanders; but they might influence the 
minds of the representatives of the American people against the 
imperial government. 

The fact, too, of the forged dispatches by the lawyers of the 
.widow Perkins fully justifies what I had the honor to say to you 
in my note of March 3 1 , by reason of the absolute impossibility of 
my ever holding any communication with persons of such type. 

In requesting you to return the printed document inclosed, I 
would also ask, Mr. Secretary of State, for the other papers which 
J. B. Stewart mentions in his letter. 

It is necessary to refute this falsehood; and I feel compelled 
to submit both documents to the Imperial Cabinet, and ask what 
course I shall pursue in case J. B. Stewart and his partners con- 
tinue their insults with impunity. Catacazy. 

MR. FISH TO M. CATACAZY. 

New York, April 30, 1870. 

My Dear M. Catacazy: — I inclose a map representing some 
lots of mine on Fourteenth and Fifteenth streets, between Second 
and Third avenues, in the neighborhood you mentioned, and near 
the block where my house is. 

The lots A, B, C, on Fifteenth Street, are mine. The adjoining 
lot, W, was sold by me a year or two since, but has not been built 
upon, and I have no doubt but that the owner would be glad to 
sell ; at least, he expressed himself so to parties who spoke to me 
about buying the property. The four lots together are 100 feet 
front by 103^ feet deep. I do not think you can find more de- 
sirable property for the price. The lots D, E, F, and G, on Four- 
teenth Street, belong to me also. If any of them suit, I shall only 
be too happy to arrange with you before you leave for New York 
City. Yours truly, Hamilton Fish. 

MR. C. M. CLAY TO M. CATACAZY. 

New York, March 1, 1870. 
M. Catacazy: — I read in the National Republican an article 
entitled "Our Relations with Russia," in which the Perkins' case 
is dragged forward. My name being connected with this affair, 
silence on my part might be construed into an agreement with the 
opinions of the writer .of the article; and I do not think that it is 



392 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

indiscreet on my part to say that I examined the Perkins' case care- 
fully, it having been brought before me officially while I was Min- 
ister of the United States at St. Petersburg. 

While admitting that all the parties in this case might be en- 
titled to the consideration of the Emperor of Russia, yet it is my 
opinion that there was not the slightest grounds for an action against 
the Imperial Government in behalf of Captain Perkins. 

I do not hesitate to say that the manner in which this affair was 
managed for eight years by Ex-Secretary Seward and his represen- 
tatives was any thing but creditable to American honor. I gave my 
own opinions in my official dispatches. Every citizen should guard 
the honor of the Republic, as well as do justice to all; and for that 
reason I do not wish to hide my opinions. 

I am satisfied that if the President and the people of the United 
States knew the facts of the case they would dismiss it at once, and 
spare the nation the stigma of insult and injustice toward the Emperor 
of Russia — the sovereign who alone stood by us in our national con- 
flict, when others wanted to remove a rival and exterminate a people. 

As for what is due to Russia on the sum voted for the cession 
of Alaska, all honest men can have but one opinion. Nations, like 
individuals, should fulfill their obligations. The idea of making the 
strict observance of a treaty subordinate to the vague interpretations 
of an affair like that of Perkins, can not meet the approval of the 
American people. 

I authorize you to use this letter as far as it may serve to vindi- 
cate justice and guard national honor. I trust that the friendship 
between America and Russia will be eternal. C. M. Clay. 

M. CATACAZY'S REPLY. 

Washington, March 8, 1870. 

My Dear Mr. Clay: — I am very much obliged for your letter 
of the 1st inst. , in which you speak frankly about the Perkins' case. 

Your testimony is important, inasmuch as, being an old repre- 
sentative of the United States at St. Petersburg, you had official 
charge of the affair, and, consequently, you must know what it 
amounts to. 

You know with what- scrupulous care and impartiality the Im- 
perial Government made this investigation, with the firm intention 
of paying to the last cent the claim, should it be found a just one. 

When the investigating committee reported that there was not 
the slightest legal grounds for the claims made by the parties inter- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



393 



ested in this false demand of the widow Perkins, you were informed 
that the Imperial Cabinet was determined to decline, courteously, 
but firmly, the question of arbitration in the matter. Perhaps you 
do not know the reason of this determination. 

As for the amount, believe me, Russia would cheerfully pay it, 
if it was according to justice. With American citizens in particular 
she is disposed to act quite liberally. But it is not a question of 
money, but of principle. We could not bear a burden imposed 
and charges constantly dinned into our ears, based upon the asser- 
tions of interested parties. If we yielded once, we would be flooded 
with similar demands from all parts of the United States. 

Only a few days ago I received a letter from a person pretend- 
ing that my government owed him for ten thousand artificial limbs, 
because a Russian physician, traveling in the United States, ex- 
amined them, and told him that in time of war he could sell them 
in Europe. Another, a widow — one likes to put the widows for- 
ward on occasions like these — demanded $300,000 for a torpedo 
invented by her deceased husband, a design of which had been 
shown to an officer of the imperial marine. 

It is unreasonable to suppose that a government like that of 
Russia can consent to submit demands of this kind to arbitration. 
I must add, also, that if, on one side, there are individuals who 
will lend themselves to such swindles, there are, on the other hand, 
many distinguished and honorable people who repudiate entirely such 
things, and entertain a very different opinion about them. 

And in regard to your letter, so kind and characteristic, I have 
also received one from a Massachusetts gentleman, who voluntarily 
comes forward to prove that the claim, now grown up to $800,000, 
was placed in his hands by Perkins himself to be sold for $100,000, 
and even less; that Perkins was addicted to intemperance, and that 
he boasted at times of having written letters as ' ' snares for Russian 
agents." 

These facts and others of like nature are all in my possession. 
Unfortunately, these circumstances are not known ; and in private 
circles this question is understood and judged according to the ex 
parte statements of the concoctors of this audacious conspiracy. 

As you justly observed, Russia has ever been the sincere and 
fast friend of America. Her sympathies have been shown in small 
as well as great things ; by deeds and not by words alone. 

But, my dear sir, between nations, as well as with individuals, 
friendship should be founded on discretion. My government ab- 



394 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

stains carefully from joining in the general clamor against the United 
States, although it had demands on the part of Russian subjects of 
better foundation than that of this Perkins. We deserve a like re- 
turn, and I trust we shall gain it. 

Regarding the interest on the price of the cession of Alaska, 
which you referred to, the only answer I can make is that the press 
is in error in saying that I made a demand for the money. I made 
no demand ; I only called the attention of your Secretary of State to 
that clause in our accounts, expressing my conviction that a simple 
suggestion would be sufficient for such a high-minded government as 
that of the United States to obtain the payment of a just claim. 

I must, in conclusion, say that I can not coincide in your views 
regarding Mr. Seward's management of this affair. A statesman of 
his reputation, who conducted for so many years such an important 
office as that of Secretary of State, might have been deceived for 
once about a claim ; but I doubt not that his intentions were good, 
and I must express my respects for so distinguished a statesman. 

Catacazy. 

MR. FISH TO M. CATACAZY. 

Washington, December 2, 1870. 
M. Catacazy — 

Dear Sir: — I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 
your private and personal letter of the 1st inst. , on the subject of 
certain newspaper articles, and I am satisfied to find an emphatic 
denial of any connivance on your part in such articles — connivance 
which would be calculated to lead to disagreeable consequences. 

I am happy, in accordance with your request, to be able to sub- 
mit your letter to the President, who will not be less pleased than I 
am at the assurances contained therein. Hamilton Fish. 

M. CATACAZY TO MR. FISH. 

Washington, Jutie 13, 1871. 
Mr. Hamilton Fish — 

Permit me to accompany my official communication to-day with 
some personal explanations. 

The last official letter which you thought fit to write to me is 
not, indeed, encouraging to me. You have expressed doubts, sir, 
thinly disguised, of the veracity of my assertions, in saying that you 
can not assume the responsibility of their correctness. 

I must perhaps conclude that interested parties have succeeded 
entirely in turning you against me ; and, if I consulted only my 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 395 

just feelings, I would renounce all hope of finding in you justice 
and friendship for me. 

But an individual should, under certain circumstances, sacrifice 
his self-respect for his official duty. I am the Minister of the Em- 
peror, sir, and out of respect for that position I should exhaust all 
means of conciliation before the friendly relations existing between 
our countries should be compromised. 

You are too fair and too intelligent, sir, not to remember, de- 
spite the feelings with which they have inspired you against me, 
that the recent publication of the dispatches, forged by the Perkins' 
lawyers ; the suit commenced against Baron Osten Sacken by their 
associates, the accomplices and receivers of the robbery of the Bank 
of Warsaw, and the many injurious things said about me in the daily 
journals, show a plan of combined action for the double purpose of 
driving me from this country, and bringing around a coolness be- 
tween both governments. 

If my departure was sufficient, I assure you I would cheerfully 
resign ; but it is my duty to prevent the fulfillment of their second 
purpose. 

It rests with you, sir, to stop those rumors and to defeat this 
intrigue, in granting the request contained in my official note. You 
can not believe that these dispatches are true which have been at- 
tributed to me ; therefore it is not fair to give credence to the slan- 
ders contained in them. 

I can not take any action myself unless in violation of diplomatic 
rules; and I think it shall be a matter of great regret to allow such 
things to prevail to the point of putting the Imperial Cabinet to the 
necessity of stating, by the publication of the papers, that persistent 
refusals have been given to the just claims of the representative of 
the Emperor. 

As far as I am personally concerned, allow me, sir, to refer, for 
the last time, in a few words, to the charges brought against me 
which you have thought fit to entertain. 

I am accused of having inspired an article signed "Don Piatt," 
containing attacks against the administration, and published in a 
Cincinnati journal. 

I have told you, and I tell you again on my hpnor, that never 
in my life have I had any relation, direct or indirect, with this 
"Don Piatt," and that I knew nothing whatever about the article 
until you showed it to me. 

You told me, sir, that you were assured of the fact by a mem- 



396 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

ber of the diplomatic corps. I begged of you to place this slan- 
derer face to face with me, or even to name him. You refused, 
saying that you could not betray confidence. 

You were also told that I expressed myself in very hostile terms 
against the Washington Treaty and its negotiations. To such vague 
charges or child's talk I oppose positive facts — the congratulations 
addressed by me to Lord Grey in General Schenck's presence; the 
compliments addressed to Mr. Bancroft Davis, the day after the sig- 
nature of the treaty, and, lastly, my letter to Mr. Cyrus Field. I 
will merely allude to the ridiculous charge of having written mali- 
cious articles in journals and anonymous threats to injure the Per- 
kins' lawyers, in your opinion. 

In fine, this is all that can be brought against me ; and, if there 
is any value in my proofs of good will, consideration, and friendship 
that I have forced myself to give since I came to the United States, 
I do not think charges of such slight foundation should be main- 
tained for an instant. 

I venture to hope, sir, that, putting all obstacles aside, you will 
give the preceding remarks fair consideration. I also would desire, 
through you, to gain the good opinion of His Excellency the Presi- 
dent himself. 

I can not believe that certain unscrupulous blackmailers can suc- 
ceed in creating a coolness between two governments that have in- 
terchanged so many proofs of esteem and friendship. 

I would also venture to hope, sir, that you will appreciate the 
frankness of my language, and that you will consent to the reestab- 
lishment of the friendly personal relations which existed between us. 

Catacazv. 

MR. FISH TO M. CATACAZY. 

Washington, June 14, 1871. 
M. Catacazy — 

Sir: — I had the honor to receive your letter of June 11, 1871. 
You refer to a letter of the date of May 9-21, 1870, that you did 
me the honor to write to me, and annex a copy of this letter, stat- 
ing that there had been no answer to it. 

It can not have escaped your memory that on June 2, 1870, 
you called upon me to inform me of your intention of spending the 
summer season in New York or its suburbs, and during this inter- 
view you propounded the question whether I had any intention of 
answering your letter of May 9-21. 

You were told then that it was not considered judicious nor 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



397 



necessary to prolong the correspondence in question. I remained 
under the impression that you adhered to the motives assigned, 
and that you were perfectly satisfied. 

It is due to the representative of His Imperial Majesty that I 
refer to this interview in order to dispel the possibility of suspicion 
of a want of respect for you personally, or as representative of 
His Imperial Majesty, by the absence of a written answer to the 
letter in question. 

I find in the notes made at the time, that at the same inter- 
view you requested me to return you the printed copy which ac- 
companied your note of May 9-21. I thought, up to the time I 
received your last note, that this copy had been returned; and I 
regret to learn that through some negligence, which must neces- 
sarily occur at times in an administration of vast correspond- 
ence, that such was not the case. I inclose the printed copy in 
question. 

I believe I am justified in saying that the article published in 
the New York Evening Post of the 10th, of which a copy was 
annexed to your note of the nth, is fully as offensive to me as it 
can be to you. It brings forward a letter which you addressed to 
me on March 13, 1870, to falsify and criticise expressions attrib- 
uted to you in pretended extracts published in the Post. 

There is no need in recalling to your mind that, as soon as 
the pretended correspondence between you and your government 
came to my knowledge, I made you acquainted with it, March, 
1870; and after I heard your denial of its authenticity I gave you 
my assurance more than once that neither the President nor my- 
self entertained the least idea that such a correspondence ever 
passed between you and your government. 

You have always attributed the origin and the publication of 
these pretended dispatches, as well as several other publications, 
to the agents of the Perkins' Claim ; but you never brought for- 
ward any proof for this charge beyond your own suspicions and 
conclusions. 

Even admitting, which I never supposed, that these letters had 
really been exchanged between you and your government, it has 
never been clear to me that these printed copies emanated from 
those persons you mention. 

I can not but acknowledge that these persons displayed con- 
siderable intelligence and energy in the defense of their cause. It 
is so plainly to their interest not to quarrel or to create additional 



398 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

trouble with the representative of Russia that no one would ever 
suppose they would provoke such a controversy. 

I can not accept, consequently, the suggestion so frequently 
made by you — that the various articles about you in the news- 
papers emanated from this source. These publications remain an 
inexplicable mystery, quite in keeping with your pretended cor- 
respondence. 

No one knows better than you the liberty exercised by a por- 
tion of the press of this country in speaking of individuals occu- 
pying official positions, as well as the means resorted to by those 
who contribute sensational personal articles to the press, and which 
appear too frequently, as you know. Many of them contain inju- 
rious articles against the President of the United States, and they 
have a point of some of my conversations with you. I take the 
opportunity of renewing the assurance of my distinguished consid- 
eration. Hamilton Fish. 

M. CATACAZY'S REPLY. 

New York, June 15, 1871. 
Mr. Hamilton Fish — 

Sir: — I had the honor to receive your note of June 14th. I 
beg you will receive my thanks for the explanation you have 
given, also for the printed copy of my letter of March 13, 1870. 

I remember, indeed, at an interview of June 2, 1870, your 
assurance that you had no doubt as to the apocryphal character 
of the forged dispatches presented by the lawyer, J. B. Stewart; 
and I agreed with you that it would be better not to prolong the 
official correspondence on so scandalous a subject. 

But permit me, Mr. Secretary of State, to recall to your recol- 
lection that at the same interview I requested you to institute im- 
mediately an examination to discover the authors of this audacious 
forgery; and that I showed by the copies in my hand that the 
lawyer, J. B. Stewart, and his partner, L. Tassistro, had made 
false assertions in affirming to you, as you told me, that these 
pretended dispatches had been obtained through an employe of 
the Imperial Legation. 

You seem to have arrived at the conviction that the lawyer, 
J. B. Stewart, is innocent of these intrigues. With all due defer- 
ence to your opinion, I can prove to you that my suggestions 
and deductions are amply grounded. The document annexed to 
my note of May 9-21, 1870, which you have had the kindness to 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



399 



return to me, is signed "J. B. Stewart." It appears to me that 
this lawyer himself acknowledges to have sent the forged dis- 
patches in question to His Excellency the President on March i 
or 2, 1870; that he asserts to have received them from a Signor 
Tassistro, and that, in spite of my denials, he sustains the authen- 
ticity of these papers 

In a letter which the lawyer, J. B. Stewart, has addressed to 
me, dated Washington, November 20, 1869, and of which I can 
produce the original, he expresses himself in the following terms 
with regard to Signor Tassistro : 

' ' I shall also take the liberty to inform you that the bearer 
of this letter is my associate in this case, and that he is author- 
ized to make all engagements on my behalf." 

Besides this declaration which establishes the copartnership ex- 
isting between these two individuals, there is the principal and 
uncontested part of the transmission of the forged dispatches by 
J. B. Stewart to His Excellency the President. As to the partici- 
pation of this lawyer in the publication of these papers, and in the 
attacks directed against me by the press, it seems to me to have 
been proven with no less evidence. 

I can only attribute, Mr. Secretary, the transparent allusions 
by which your note of June 14th terminates to the equitable in- 
tention to enable me to contradict in an official manner the calum- 
nious imputations made against me. I am confirmed in this sup- 
position by the assurances which you have given me, Mr. Secretary, 
concerning your disposition not to fail in the respect due to the 
representative of His Majesty the Emperor, my august master, 
and towards me personally. I shall, therefore, take advantage of 
the opportunity you offer me to repel such imputations. I shall 
only beg leave not to place myself on the ground of innuendoes, 
but on that of frank cordiality, from which I am instructed by 
the Emperor, my august master, not to depart in my relations 
with the Federal Government. You told me, Mr. Secretary, dur- 
ing the interview of May 25, to which you refer, "that you are 
absolved from rendering what is due to me," informing me at the 
same time that it is stated to you from different sides that I had 
written or inspired press articles containing violent attacks against 
the administration and against the President himself. When I in 
quired of you who dared utter such calumnies, you told me that 
the fact had been reported to you by a person worthy of belief, 
and living in the same social sphere as I do. To my request to 



400 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

be confronted with this person, or at least to name him, you re- 
plied that you could not betray confidence. I opposed to these 
imputations the most complete denial. I expressed my profound 
respect for His Excellency the President, and my esteem for the 
members of his administration. I repelled with indignation the 
supposition that the representative of His Majesty the Emperor 
could so fail in his duty as to attack the Supreme Chief of the 
government to which he has the honor of being accredited. I 
repeat these assurances, Mr. Secretary, in the most formal man- 
ner; and I beg of you to communicate them to His Excellency 
the President. Accept the assurance, etc. Catacazy. 

M. CATACAZY TO HON. Z. CHANDLER. 

Washington, January i, 1872. 
Hon. Z. Chandler — 

Dear Sir : — I have expressed to you the desire to have an 
interview with Mr. G. W. Adams for the purpose of learning how 
and by whom he could have been so completely led into error as 
to make the incorrect statements to the Secretary of State in his 
letter of October 28, 1871. I also request you to inform me for 
what reason Mr. Adams has declined an interview, and to declare 
to him that I challenge him, in the first place, to produce the 
manuscript of the article of which he makes mention in his letter 
to Mr. Fish, and which he affirms bears corrections in my hand- 
writing. In the second place, to explain how and by whom the 
article above mentioned had been handed to him at the Russian 
Legation, by order of M. Catacazy, as he has affirmed. You may 
add that I am ready to deposit with my banker a sum of $3,000, 
to be distributed among the poor in Washington, whenever the 
World article in question, which it is pretended bears signs of 
correction emanating from me, will be produced, and recognized 
by competent and impartial judges. I remain, etc. 

Catacazy. 
mr. piatt to m. catacazy. 

Washington, October 12, 1871. 
Mr. De Catacazy: — I have the honor to reply to your follow- 
ing four questions: 

1. Have I had the honor of seeing you until this day, or have 
I had any relations with you? 

2. Have I furnished you, directly or indirectly, any article on 
any subject? 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 4OI 

3. Have I directly, or indirectly, taken part in the editing of 
the article of the Cincinnati Commercial regarding the Treaty of 
Washington ? 

4. Do you see me to-day for the first time? 

I reply "No" to all your questions. Though it may seem 
strange, I have the honor of telling you that it is for the first 
time I see you to-day. In the hope that this reply will be satis- 
factory, I have the honor, etc., D. Piatt. 

J. GORDON BENNETT TO M. CATACAZY. 

New York, January 11, 1872. 
My Dear Sir: — I have received your letter, dated Boston, De- 
cember 13, 1870. On account of my absence from New York I 
have not been able to reply to it until now. You say it has been 
published in different journals, and that it has even been officially 
stated that you have sent me articles attacking the Federal Gov- 
ernment and its high functionaries, and that you are therefore under 
the obligation of asking me to reply to the following questions: 

1. "Since I have had the pleasure to make your acquaintance 
as Commodore of the Yacht Club, and as a distinguished member 
of New York society, have I ever uttered a word in your presence 
against the President of the United States?" 

Our conversations never having had reference to politics, I am 
unable to remember that you have ever expressed yourself in a 
manner unfavorable to the President or any other functionary. 

2. "In chatting with you about the Perkins' affair did I not say 
to you that I firmly believed that the Secretary of State had been 
led into error; and that, in spite of his violent attacks upon me, 
I considered him as a perfect gentleman — an opinion that I naively 
entertained at that time?" 

I remember that, on one occasion, the Perkins' Claim was in- 
cidentally mentioned ; but I am not able to remember to-day in 
what sense you expressed yourself in reference to the Secretary of 
State. 

3. "Have I ever tried by corruption to influence your opin- 
ion with regard to political questions, as has been calumniously 
stated?" 

As I have already said, our conversations never had a political 
character; they principally had reference to the reception of His 
Highness, the Grand Duke Alexis, by the Yacht Club. 

Consequently, you have never had the opportunity to seek to 
Vol. I. —26 



402 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

influence me ; and, as to the accusations of corruption, I consider 
them so absurd that they do not seem to me to deserve refuta- 
tion. Yours, etc., James Gordon Bennett', Jr. 

ANNEX N. 
LETTER FROM HORACE GREELEY TO M. CATACAZY. 

New York, January 15, 1872. 
M. Catacazy — 

Dear Sir : — I have received your letter concerning actions with 
the press that have been imputed to you, and I reply to them as 
follows : 

1. As far as my recollection and information serve me, not a 
line, written or dictated by you, has apppeared in the columns of 
the Tribune, except official documents bearing your signature. 

2. On two, or, perhaps, on three occasions, you have furnished 
me contributions of which I have made use in the editing of articles 
for the Tribune. It need not be said that no criticism against my 
Government has been published by me upon suggestions from you. 

3. One time only you have communicated with me in writing 
about the Perkins' Claim in a fashion that might be interpreted as 
having reference to my Government, especially in presence of the 
notorious support accorded by this Government to the said claim. 

4. I have never heard it said, and I am unable to believe that 
you have sought to profit by the Tribune, by means of its corre- 
spondents at Washington or other cities. 

I believe I have replied very explicitly to all your questions. I 
have the honor, etc., H. Greeley. 

annex o. 

LETTER FROM MR. DANA TO M. CATACAZY. 

New York, January 17, 1872. 
M. Catacazy — 

Dear Sir: — I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 
your favor of this date, putting certain questions. To make the 
matter simpler, I will copy these questions and append to them my 
answers. The first question is as follows: 

1. "Have I ever seen you; or have I had direct, or indirect, 
relations, whether with you personally, or with your correspondents 
or reporters? " 

To this I reply: I have never seen you, and do not even know 
you by sight. I have never had any relations with you, directly or 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 



403 



indirectly. I have no reason to suppose that a correspondent, or 
even a reporter, of this journal has had relations with you. Further, 
I have no reason to believe that any article published in the Sim has 
emanated from you, or has been inspired by you. 
Your second question is as follows: 

2. "Have I ever tried to influence you on a political or per- 
sonal question? " 

To which I answer: Never. 
Your third question is as follows: 

3. "One of your reporters having questioned me on the stair- 
case of the Clarendon Hotel, and insisting upon obtaining informa- 
tion, under the pretext that the S2//1 had always taken my defense, 
have I not replied to him that I do not desire to give any explana- 
tion, and that I could form but one wish and that was that the Sun 
should abstain from all commentary upon my relations with the De- 
partment of State?" 

I reply to this that I have substantially received from one of my 
reporters, the day after his meeting with you, a relation agreeable 
to the fact as stated by you in your question. 

It is true, sir, that I have sometimes defended you when I have 
believed you to be unjustly attacked ; but I have also criticised your 
conduct as a public functionary when I believed it blamable. On 
all occasions I have acted according to the needs of the public, 
and not according to those of any individual interest. I have the 
honor, etc. Charles A. Dana. 

ANNEX P. 
PRIVATE LETTER FROM M. CATACAZY TO MR. HAMILTON FISH. 

Staten Island, July 24, 1871. 
Mr. Hamilton Fish — 

Sir : — I determine to show once more that I know how to 
make a sacrifice of my personal sentiments for the sake of the in- 
terests which have been confided to me. 

I like to believe that the same principle will guide you, in spite 
of all the prejudices that one has succeeded in inspiring you with 
against me. It is in this hope that, before replying officially to the 
note that you have felt it your duty to address to me the 31st of 
July, I now ask you to accord me an interview. 

In this note, sir, you give to the Minister of Russia the lie con- 
ceived in the coarsest terms — "it is not true;" and you accuse 
him, by insinuation, of having maliciously abused his diplomatic 



404 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

immunities in order to make false accusations with impunity, and 
being animated by sentiments of personal interest. 

I permit myself to appeal one more, sir, to your impartial 
equity. Is it in the interest and for the dignity of our respective 
governments to exchange correspondences of this nature because a 
divergence of opinion has been produced on a private claim? Are 
there not, in short, many other means of obtaining the displace- 
ment of a diplomatic individuality against which one has conceived 
insurmountable repugnances than to address him a note so offensive? 

For my part, sir, since I have the honor to be Minister of the 
Emperor, I will go to the end in the painful accomplishment of my 
duty ; and as I am persuaded that a loyal explanation may place a 
term to a situation too strained not to end in a scandal, I now pray 
you to accord me an interview, in such place and on such a day as 
may be convenient to you. 

I have the honor to be, with a high consideration, your very 
humble servant, C. Catacazy. 

Correspondence of the A T eiv York Sun. 

Perkins' Claim against Russia — Bancroft Davis, the Bribe- Taker after 

a Share — The Dirtiest Diplomacy on Record — Effort to 

oust the Russian Minister. 

Washington, August 12, 1871. — We have had going on here 
for some time a charmingly illustrative instance of dishonest greed, 
mean deceit, and dirty diplomacy, in which Bancroft Davis, the 
Bribe-Taker, figures as the head-center in a way so common that it 
has ceased to create surprise. If Bancroft Davis, the Bribe-Taker, 
has a friend in Washington, I do not know of him. His most 
familiar associates, who frequent his house and drink his wines, 
shrug their shoulders or nod their heads significantly at the men- 
tion of his ill-flavored name. 

It seems that there has been a long-pending and unsatisfied 
claim of one Perkins, an American citizen, against the Russian 
Government. This claim the present Minister, Catacazy, repre- 
senting his Government, has contested with great vigor. It is 
asserted and generally believed that Perkins' attorneys have driven 
a bargain with Bancroft Davis, the Bribe-Taker, to give him a large 
slice of the Perkins' Claim if he, the Bribe-Taker, would procure 
a legal recognition of it from the Russian Government. 

Here is the motive for the Assistant Secretary's action, and this 
is the way he went about it. Approaching Mr. Bodisco, son of the 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 405 

former Minister, and connected with the legation, he proposed to 
bring the weight of our Government to bear upon that of Russia, 
and get Catacazy displaced by Bodisco, if he, Bodisco, would allow 
the claim of Perkins. To this the ambitious diplomatic neophyte 
consented, and Davis set about as dirty an intrigue as ever dis- 
graced our national capital. He got the Administration, which 
means, of course, Ulysses S. Grant, to instruct our Minister at St. 
Petersburg, to press the recall of M. Catacazy, upon the ground 
that the Russian diplomatic agent here had made himself offensive 
by his intermeddling with our affairs, and because Madame Cata- 
cazy's career had been of such a character that the families of our 
officials were embarrassed by her presence.* 

Upon all this Bancroft Davis, the Bribe-Taker, seized; and 
Curtin, at St. Petersburg, pressed it in a formal manner upon the 
Imperial Government. The fact came to the ears of Mr. Catacazy, 
and he went to work. He is a shrewd, active, experienced diplo- 
mate, and proved too much for our sickly Mazarin, Davis, the 
Bribe-Taker. The war grew hot and furious. The press was called 
in to the aid of the conspirators. All sorts of lies were put in cir- 
culation, and for a while it looked as if Catacazy were to be recalled 
and disgraced. Davis, the Bribe-Taker, at first cared nothing about 
the disgrace. He only wished to get the Minister out of the way; 
but the wily diplomate had such a way of sneering at our Amer- 
ican poor devil that it nearly drove him mad. And, so excited, he 
made it a point to get Catacazy recalled before the Grand Duke 
Alexis should arrive. To this end he moved all his machinery; 
and to no purpose. The Russian Government not only refused to 
recall the old gentleman, but in a marked manner expressed its 
confidence in him. He remains full minister. One of the con- 
spirators, Mr. Bodisco, has been rebuked by a transfer to the con- 
sular service; and the Bribe-Taker's slice of the Perkins' Claim gets 
smaller by degrees and beautifully less. 

And now comes the Grand Duke Alexis, and through him 
Madame Catacazy's triumph. He will occupy their house. There 
he will receive and entertain such guests as Madame Catacazy may 
designate. They who have turned up their chaste noses at the fair 
divorcee, and lost no opportunity to insult and trample upon her, 
will now be ready to break their worthless necks in a struggle for 
her smiling recognition. The pavement will be covered with visit- 
ing instead of playing cards; and the fashionable world about 

* Madame Catacazy stood high in Russian society. — C, 1885. 



406 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Washington will be as mean and truckling as it was lately cruel 
and arrogant. Timon. 

After this ring fought me at Washington, in conjunc- 
tion with the Bayard Taylor clique, and I was trium- 
phantly returned to Russia, Seward, Stewart, Weed, and 
their organs, the Times, National Intelligencer, etc., op- 
posing me, they allowed the Perkins' swindle to rest. 
But, about 1867, they got Congress, or, rather, the 
House, to indorse the claim, and sent it on to me, with 
a more elaborately written paper in its support; and 
Seward ordered me to press the claim. He had this 
time, no doubt, prepared it for Gortchacow's eye. 

In the meantime the claim had grown from thousands 
to hundreds of thousands, much to my astonishment, and 
I was in less humor now for its presentment than before ; 
but, as I was now left without remedy, or such recalcitra- 
tion as might cause Lincoln to recall me, I took the 
document and handed it to Gortchacow. 

He read the whole long argument with great patience. 
I observed him closely. After awhile the veins upon his 
forehead began to swell ; and, as he finished, he rose up, 
his eyes flashing with that peculiar glance which belongs 
exclusively to the Slavic race, and making several quick 
steps toward me, said: "I will go to war before I will 
pay a single copeck!" He handed the documents back, 
and said no more ; nor was more necessary. * 

* LETTER OF W. H. SEWARD. 

(Private.) Washington, August 8, 1865. 

My Dear Mr. Clay : — A necessity for an occasional respite 
from the labors of the Department for the recovery of my own 
health, and my efforts to bring back this blessing to my bereaved 
and sorely-stricken children, produces in return an inevitable accu- 
mulation of business essential to the restoration of peace, and many 
thoughts for the country. In this condition of things, I am obliged 
to ask my friends to accept intimations of my gratitude and sensi- 
bility, rather than full expressions of those sentiments, as they are 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 407 

When Seward attempted to calumniate me afterward, 
in the Chautems' affair, Gortchacow showed his contempt 
for the Secretary of State, and his warm sympathy in my 
defense. And it is a gratification to me to this day that, 
whilst my own countrymen treated me so infamously, the 
representatives of the two nations, who alone were con- 
cerned in the matters alleged — Prince Gortchacow and 
Sir Andrew Buchanan, who knew all the parties and all 
the facts — were my warm and efficient defenders. 

Just before Seward telegraphed me, through the cipher 
which he had given me, that I would "be allowed to re- 
sign," Joseph B. Stewart wrote to me to compromise on 
one half the amount, if I remember aright, and to urge 
the Perkins' Claim again ; and he intimated that there were 
movements against me in Washington, and that I would 
be recalled if I did not. This letter was sent to the State 
Department. 

Now, I never knew, nor do I know to this day, why 
Johnson allowed ' Seward to attempt to recall me. In the 
cipher he gave no reason. But, owing to Johnson's defec- 
tion from the Republican Party, Congress had passed a 
law requiring that no officer who had to be confirmed by 
the Senate should be dismissed without its consent. So 
I wrote an indignant answer to Seward, saying I would 
meet him on more equal grounds hereafter, and I re- 
signed my Ministry; not unconditionally, but to take 
effect on the arrival of my successor. 

awakened by letters so full of generosity and affection, as those 
which you and all our representatives abroad have written to me. 
Be assured, my dear sir, that every line of those letters sinks deep 
into my heart, and will there remain forever. 

Faithfully your friend, Wm. H. Seward. 

Cassius M. Clay, Esq., etc., St. Petersburg, Russia. 

Notwithstanding Mr. Seward's "unflinching enmity" toward me, when he was 
struck down in the cause of my country, it was my cause also. Alas! for human 
frailty; when restored to health he forgot his better feelings and justice even, and 
wronged me more than ever. — C, 1885. 



408 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

So here I was too much for the Albany man. If I 
had resigned unconditionally, as he no doubt hoped I 
would, it would have been necessary to send some one 
to succeed me; but, as the new-comer had to receive the 
indorsement of the Senate, they would very naturally ask 
why not retain Clay? 

Before I left St. Petersburg, Mr. Smythe, the Ex-Col- 
lector of the Port of New York, and the Senator from 
Florida, J. W. Osborne, came to St. Petersburg, and 
dined with me. The Senator told me, in Mr. Smythe's 
presence, that the Senate held a caucus, and resolved 
that Seward should not replace me. Seward offered sev- 
eral men as my successor, and, failing in all, he nominated 
Mr. Smythe, who, as collector, had more patronage than 
any man in America ; but the Senate stood by me, and 
Smythe, as he told me himself, was rejected. So, under 
Providence, all the arts of my shameless and cowardly 
enemy were defeated ; and I held office three years after 
his telegram, and after he retired to the privacy of his 
home in New York. 

After his trip around the world, which was intended 
as a Presidential "boom," I happened to be in New York 
when Seward returned. His friends got the aldermen of 
the city to invite him to a banquet, to which he assented ; 
but, when they were advised that they had to pay the 
bills, not out of the city-treasury, but from their own 
pockets, they recalled their invitation to the banquet, and 
asked the Secretary to take his stand in the City-Hall, 
and shake hands with "the boys." 

There was an old fox-hunter from Kentucky in New 
York, and I sent him around to see how Seward came 
out with his "boom." By that time he was "neither fish, 
flesh, nor good red herring." His Johnson straddle had 
left him without the confidence of either the Democrats or 
of the Republicans. He had no follower of force but 
Thurlow Weed, and a few beneficiaries, so far as I could 
learn. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 409 

"Well," said I, to my fox-hunter, "what did you see?" 

"You know," said he, "I never did like Seward; but, 
upon my word, I was sorry for him. Such a whiskey- 
drinking, tobacco-chewing set of dead-beats and loafers 
were never before seen in one assembly. Seward was 
placed upon a sort of platform, where few even of that 
foul crowd cared to go up to shake his hand. Clay, I 
never saw any thing like it. Did you ever see a fox up 
a black-jack sapling, and the hounds baying him on all 
sides? Well, that was like Seward. He looked very 
much out of place ; and very like the poor fox, who was 
set upon by devouring dogs. Oh, Clay! it was sad!" 

Some wag got up, that night, a caricature represent- 
ing the "City Hospitality." I think it must have been 
Thomas Nast. It represented the Falstaff-looking alder- 
men rising from a well-stored table in the back-ground, 
approaching the little fellow who had a hungry, care-worn 
look, and giving him a single finger. The legend was : 
"Welcome to New York!" 

I sent these caricatures to all the places in St. Peters- 
burg where the Chautems' pamphlet had, by his friends, 
the banditti, been distributed. Thus perished the polit- 
ical aspirations of my ablest, meanest, and most cowardly 
enemy, W. H. Seward. 

After the attempt to assassinate the Emperor at the 
summer-garden, I wrote to Mr. Seward suggesting the 
propriety of sending an embassy to congratulate him upon 
his escape from his enemies. This I thought would be 
justly an evidence of our gratitude for his friendly support 
of the Union cause, and give evidence to the people of 
Russia that we were in sympathy with their great liber- 
ator. It will be remembered that the Emperor was saved 
by a serf who had come a great way to see his bene- 
factor ; and I have elsewhere shown how the great peo- 
ple appreciated him. 

In pursuance of this suggestion, Congress passed reso- 
lutions of sympathy, and sent Captain G. V. Fox, late of 



4IO MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

the United States Navy, and Ex-Assistant Secretary of 
the same, to bear these resolutions to the Czar. A moni- 
tor and two wooden ships brought the party. 

I received due notice of his coming, and issued tick- 
ets of invitation to distinguished Russians, the diplomatic 
corps, and the Russian naval officers, to meet him at the 
legation, where I prepared a collation. I termed him 
Captain Fox. To this he took exception. He preferred 
the title of Assistant Secretary of the Navy. My object 
was to honor him ; the mission was at my suggestion ; I 
had no intention whatever to underrate him. So I had a 
new set of tickets struck with the preferred title. Again 
a question arose of precedency, Jeremiah Curtin, Secretary 
of Legation, Seward's tool, contending that Fox, being a 
special bearer of the dispatches of Congress, should hold 
the place of honor. All of this was absurd. He had but 
a special mission ; and, after the delivery of his papers, 
whatever that rank gave him closed. 

I mention these things to show how Seward had evi- 
dently intended, as far as possible, to embarrass me ; and 
had, no doubt, inspired into Fox sentiments unfriendly to 
myself. 

The Emperor soon settled this matter; for, when we 
dined together on his yacht, near Cronstadt, he of course 
gave me the usual post of honor. 

John Van Buren, the son of the Ex-President, with 
whom I had dined in the times of Andrew Jackson's 
Presidency, was also in St. Petersburg, with an interest- 
ing daughter and niece. He was quite on good terms 
with me ; and ridiculed Fox's assumed dignity and pre- 
tensions. However, as Fox and I got better acquainted, 
the first unpleasant impressions wore off; and we ulti- 
mately became quite good friends. The Americans were 
welcomed in Russia with great enthusiasm by all ranks, 
and received many distinguished expressions of regard. 
The officers were dined with the Emperor and imperial 
family ; and balls and other fetes given. A vessel was 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY.. 41 I 

launched on the Neva; and Miss Van Buren was awarded 
the honor of breaking the accustomed bottle of wine on 
that vessel. Entertainments were given at the Navy De- 
partment, at Cronstadt; and the party was sent, at the 
government expense, to Moscow and Nizhnee-Novgorod, 
and other places of interest. 

The Governor-General of Moscow, Prince Vladimir 
Dolgorouki, gave a grand dinner. Here Curtin, my dis- 
contented secretary, allowed himself, no doubt by previous 
concert with a few vulgar fellows, to be thrown up during 
the dinner — a thing unheard of before in a grave com- 
pany of gentlemen ; though it was admissible when men 
were on a "spree," or a "bender," as we would say. 
This so much disgusted the Governor-General that, when 
the Americans were invited to witness the fire-works by 
night on the Moskwa River, Curtin was omitted ; and. 
when the officers were invited to the Governor-General's 
box at the theater, Curtin was again ignored. 

The largest crowd I ever saw together any where, 
even greater than that at Rochester, in 1844, was gath- 
ered at night in a grove near Moscow, in which was 
made an immense platform for the Americans and distin- 
guished Russians. The shouts, as the guests were ush- 
ered in through a lane made in the vast audience, were 
like the roar of a stormy sea. Many other stands and 
bands of music were provided in the groves. There had 
been so much said about precedence, that I only went to 
Moscow on the urgent invitation of the city and Mr. 
Fox ; and from there I returned to St. Petersburg. 

In St. Petersburg, Gortchacow gave an elegant dinner 
to the diplomatic corps, then in the city, and to Mr. Fox. 
I was given the post of honor on his right, and Mr. Fox 
on his left. After the wine was well-flowing, the Chan- 
cellor gave Mr. Fox an elegant box with splendid dia- 
monds from the Emperor, which was handed around and 
admired by all the guests. 

At Moscow, some excellent engravings of buildings, 



412 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

etc., were given all the officers, and some sent to me, 
which, though contrary to the rule for ministers to receive 
presents at foreign courts, as they were articles of art, 
and the occasion unusual, I accepted. The whole affair, 
in a word, was every way a success ; and both nations 
were placed upon the most pleasant footing. 

On the whole, Fox acquitted himself successfully in 
this delicate affair ; and, being a man of fine physique, 
and good, regular features, left a very favorable impres- 
sion upon the men and women of Russia. 

Poor Van Buren died at sea on his way home. 
His daughter, who had given me a photograph of her 
father, on her return asked me to give it back, as it was 
the only one she had of him in late years. Of course, I 
complied with her wishes. But, fortunately, I had two 
of him ; and I am glad to have such a memento of one 
who had at several times in life shown me courtesies. 
He was well received in St. Petersburg, not only because 
he was the son of an Ex-President of the United States, 
which counts much in aristocratic countries, but because 
of his fine manners and ready wit, in which he much sur- 
passed his father, who was quite grave and reserved at 
all times ; for I met him, not only at Washington, but at 
Lexington, Kentucky, later in life. 

Admiral David G. Farragut, with his wife, visited St. 
Petersburg later, and was received with like honors. I 
entertained him and his suite at a lunch ; and was much 
pleased with the old hero, who was a fine person of large 
stature, with quite a military look and a large Roman nose. 
His wife was a very vivacious lady, younger than the ad- 
miral, and quite pleased with the honors which her hus- 
band every-where received. Coming by sea, he was thus 
enabled to reciprocate the courtesies received, by entertain- 
ing the Russians on his ship. He or Captain Fox had on 
board Lieutenant McKee, a Kentuckian, the son of my 
friend, Col. W. R. McKee, who fell gloriously at Buena 
Vista, at the head of his regiment. This true son of his 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 413 

father was killed in the Corean invasion ; being the first to 
mount the walls of a fort, and to spring into the midst of 
the enemy, where he met certain death. 

When the attempt was made upon the life of the Em- 
peror, Prince Suwarrow, the son of the General Suwarrow 
of the first Napoleon's time, was Governor- General of St. 
Petersburg. He was a man of great stature, and very 
amiable and popular. But it was thought that he was not 
up to the occasion ; for the assassin escaped for the time 
being, although finally detected and executed. This was 
no doubt the beginning of the Nihilistic movement. But 
as little is said about these things in Russia, I was left 
to conjecture. Count Bergh, General, Field-Marshal, and 
Governor- General of Poland, was sent for, and I suppose 
put in charge of bringing the assassin to punishment. I 
was anxious to see again this eminent man, whose ac- 
quaintance I first made in 1861. I called upon him, and 
he returned my visit. He was entertained by a grand 
court ball, where thousands were suppered. There was a 
dais on which the imperial family sat ; whilst tables through 
several apartments were laid for the guests. There was 
an immense flattened vase of China, which was covered 
with r,are exotic flowers ; and other great display was made. 
The Governor-General had the first place of honor on the 
occasion, supping with the Czar and the Empress. Such 
is the policy of Russia, which makes the military the 
highest rank, next to the sovereign himself and his im- 
mediate family. There are several princes and counts 
Mouravieff,* one of whom was once Governor-General of 

* LETTER OF THE COUNT MOURAVIEFF, VICEROY OF POLAND, J863. 

Monsieur: — Une indisposition subite me prive du plaisir d'ac- 
cepter votre amiable invitation pour demain. Je vous prie de croire 
a mes regrets sinceres, et d'agreer l'assurance d'un parfait estime, et 
de ma haute consideration. N. Mouravieff- Amousky.* 

*This was the Governor-General who said, in giving a friend a letter of intro- 
duction to me, that I had more influence with the Emperor than any foreigner in the 
empire. — C, 1885. 



414 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Siberia, and another was distinguished in the Polish re- 
volt. 

The Governor-General Bergh, Viceroy of Poland, how- 
ever, was a man of middle age, with marked, sharp feat- 
ures, intellectual and full of thought, a quick glance, and 
imposing manner. His office in Poland has subjected him 
to much odium in Europe. But it was no child's play , 
and men are not to be pelted down from ^Esop's apple- 
tree with tufts of grass ! 

Suwarrow was blamed for not throwing a guard at 
once around the summer-garden, and taking prisoner every 
man in it. Such was the course which Bergh said, I am 
told, ought to have been taken. That afterward seemed 
obvious ; but it takes a cool, shrewd man, at such a cri- 
sis, to meet the issues. Suwarrow was superseded in his 
command ; but he held, I believe, the nominal leadership, 
whilst its powers were placed in the hands of General 
Theodore Trepoff, Bergh's friend, who had also been 
schooled in Poland. He was, after I left, killed by the 
Nihilists. But Suwarrow, though retained in the favor, 
and in the suite of the Emperor, seemed never to recover 
his spirits ; and his daughter, who spoke English perfectly, 
said to me in a conversation something about her "poor 
pa," which was a revelation of how these events affected 
his happiness. 

After these occurrences a dinner was given me by the 
corporate powers of Moscow. My Albany speech of 1863 
had been translated, as I said, into the Russian language, 
and widely distributed over the empire. The World's Fair 
at London showed the Russians much farther advanced in 
manufactures than was generally supposed. In silver and 
gold-work, in jewelry, in iron and steel-work, and many 
other things, they were equal to, if not ahead of, other 
nations. In leather-making and manufactures of leather, 
especially, they were eminent. 

A large class of manufacturers was aggregated about 
Moscow. Now, as England, notwithstanding Charles 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 415 

Francis Adams's vaunted diplomacy, was our worst enemy 
in the world, I sought out how I might most injure her. 
I had all my life been a tariff man, under Henry Clay's 
lead; and during all my late Democratic schooling have 
not ventured into the deep waters of free trade. Russia, 
with her immense lands and resources, and great popula- 
tion, was a fine field for British manufactures ; and she 
had made the most of it. I procured the works of H. 
C. Carey, of Philadelphia, and presented them to the for- 
eign office, and to the Emperor himself. So that it began 
to be understood that I was the friend of home-industry — 
the "Russian system." I encouraged the introduction of 
American arms, sewing machines, and all that, as far as I 
could ; the mining of petroleum, and its manufacture ; and 
got the United States to form a treaty preventing the vio- 
lation of trade-marks in the commerce of the two nations. 
So, when I was invited to Moscow, it was intimated that a 
tariff speech would be quite acceptable. 

They got up a magnificent dinner ; and, with the Amer- 
ican and Russian flags over my head, I made a regular 
tariff speech. It was translated into Russian as I spoke, 
and received immense applause. It was also put in Rus- 
sian newspapers, and in pamphlet form circulated in thou- 
sands all over the empire. This touched England in the 
tenderest spot ; and, whilst Sir Andrew Buchanan and lady 
were too well bred to speak of it, one of the attacJies was 
less discreet, and showed how much I threatened British 
trade. This dinner was photographed at the time, and 
several copies given me, one of which now hangs in my 
homestead. I found out that the arguments which I had 
made for long years in the South, in favor of free labor 
and manufactures, as co-factors, was well understood in 
Russia ; and, since emancipation and education have taken 
a new projectile force, railroads and manufactures have the 
same propulsion, as is now exhibited in the "Solid South." 

Moscow, the ancient capital of the czars, and where 
they are yet crowned, contains about 600,000 people, 



4l6 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

being but little less in population than St. Petersburg, 
the present seat of government. It lies upon the Mos- 
kwa, or Moskva, River, in a fine, undulating, agricultural 
region, very similar to Central Kentucky, and I think on 
limestone rock. The city is one of the most picturesque 
in the world; even the exaggerated burning of 1812 not 
having changed the streets, which, like some of those of 
Boston, seemed to have followed the original cow-paths. 
The streets, so irregular, are yet more noted for their 
varied architecture, of different ages and different degrees 
of wealth, and ornamental structure ; so unlike St. Peters- 
burg, which, as the City of Mexico, is uniform in its 
streets and buildings. In addition to the public buildings 
of a secular kind, there are three hundred and seventy 
churches of elaborate ornamental style, with tin and cop- 
per and gold roofs, and of many colors. But the most 
interesting part is the Kremlin, where the palace is situ- 
ated, and other ancient and modern structures. 

The city of Moscow was formerly well fortified, with a 
wall all around ; but, since the use of fire-arms, the wall 
being, as then constructed, no protection, it has been neg- 
lected. So there remains only the wall around the Krem- 
lin, which covers a triangular space, resting on the Moskwa 
River, this wall being seven thousand two hundred and fifty 
feet in extent. These walls are now kept in their antique 
form, though of no use against modern artillery. 

But the limits of these Memoirs admonishes me to be 
brief; and I conclude by saying that there is much to be 
seen and admired here, especially the magnificent palace. 
The famous cathedral bell is here; and through the broken 
place a man can enter it walking upright. The whole 
height of the bell is over seventeen feet. This is a fine 
agricultural region ; and here are bred the famous Russian 
horses of the Orloff breed, the finest carriage-horses in 
the world. 

W. L. Winans, the American millionaire, who owns a 
palace at Brighton, England, knowing I was a Kentuckian, 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 417 

and much used to horses, which are there the finest racers 
in the world, invited me to go with him to Moscow. As it 
was a pleasant trip, and I could see something of the peo- 
ple and the country, I accepted his invitation, and saw much 
of the country-life of the middle classes, among whom we 
were received with great hospitality. These Orloffs are 
seen always in St. Petersburg ; and a winter sleigh (belong- 
ing to me,) with the Emperor, driver and horse, painted from 
life by their best animal-artist, Swaitchcoff, has in it a dap- 
ple gray, which, with the black, are the common colors. 

They keep a stud-book, and the pedigree is ancient, 
and well guarded against adulteration. Winans bought 
five pairs of horses, paying as high as 3,000 rubles a pair. 
These he drove on the fashionable road from Brighton to 
London ; and he told me they were the finest and swiftest 
goers on the route, a fact that much astonished John Bull. 
It is true our fast trotters can beat them ; but I think no 
horses of the same heavy weight can rival them in speed 
and beauty. The breed should be imported to this country. 

Vol. I. — 27 



CHAPTER XX. 



Russian Habits. — Religion and Humanity. — "Russian Cruelties." — The 
Grand Dukes Constantine and Nicholas. — A scene at the private 

THEATER OF THE PRINCESS D'lTALIE-SuWARROW. — COMPARATIVE COURAGE. — 

Gen. U. S. Grant. — Letter of Gen. Edward M. McCook. — Gen. John A. 
Rawlins. — How I lost the favor of Her Majesty the Empress. — Prince 
Alexander Dolgorouki enlightens me. — Her Imperial Majesty's Portrait. 



THE whole of St. Petersburg, in the winter, as I said, 
is in clubs. There are clubs of every class of peo- 
ple, rich and poor, in which men and women promenade, 
play at cards, dance, and eat and drink. The clubs of the 
first nobility are not so much frequented as those of the 
medium and poorer classes, as they are so much engaged 
in the theaters and private and public balls there is little 
time for club-life. But what is called the minor or petite 
nobility, and the mercantile and laboring classes in most 
handicrafts, have their clubs full every night. 

The higher classes bet high at cards in private houses, 
and much is lost and won. Some people of high rank 
invite guests and entertain them handsomely, with a view 
to win money. So at Baden, formerly no people, men 
and women, bet higher than the Russians. At all private 
parties middle-aged men and women play at cards ; whilst 
the younger ones dance. They rarely drink to excess. In 
public, to be seen drunk is a disgrace ; and any drunkard 
of any class is immediately taken in charge by the police. 
But in private the best people are fond of a quiet party 
of similar tastes, where much champagne — the favorite 
drink — is consumed. 

In Moscow I was entertained by the young nobility. 
The supper was elaborate, and all very dignified till the 
champagne began to flow freely, when a gentleman (for 
418 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 4 1 9 

the rooms in winter are kept at about 65 ,) said to me : 
"General, would you object to our taking off our coats?" 
I said: "No, sir;" and, suiting the action to the word, I 
took off my own. They, all much pleased, then took off 
their coats. At such times, unlike Americans, they never 
quarrel ; though Russians are quick to resent an insult if 
it is intended. 

The duello is forbidden by law, especially in the army, 
yet fights take place in private ; when, if the parties are 
only wounded, they are supposed to have taken a tour 
abroad. If they, one or more, are killed, then conceal- 
ment is not possible. The Russians are inveterate smok- 
ers, but they never chew or spit ; and I have never seen 
women, of any class, use tobacco in any form. But the 
ladies are fond of stimulants, if properly disguised ; and, 
having a large silver bowl, a punch which I introduced 
was quite a celebrated thing in polite circles, and I was 
often asked for the recipe. 

In the country and the family, the cooking is not very 
different from our own. Very young pigs, roasted or 
boiled, are quite a favorite dish ; and the small Alderney 
cattle, poor in winter, but quickly fattened in the long sum- 
mer days, are very choice beef-makers. They make, also, 
the old Virginia chicken or beef pies, which are excellent. 

In the large cities the bread is as fine as in Paris, 
made of white-wheat flour. But the best bread I ever 
ate was in the cities of Mexico and of Moscow, being in 
both places generally made by Germans. In Moscow and 
St. Petersburg the Russians are also good bread-makers. 
The reason of this excellence is, no doubt, the fine wheat, 
which is raised in both countries. 

The Russians, like the Romans, have their ante-pran- 
dmm. In passing to dinner, you come upon a table 
where are set caviar — the eggs of the sturgeon of the 
great rivers — sardines, fine cheese, pickles, white and 
black bread, etc. Dinner among the first classes is 
French, and the same as in Paris. When oysters are 



420 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

used, they are set, in the shell, on the plates of each 
guest, before or after they are seated. Then comes soup, 
and so on ; the courses coming in succession, and more 
or less elaborate, according to the grandeur of the occa- 
sion. At very elegant dinners, vases of natural flowers 
are set on the table. On one occasion, when I had a 
dinner of twelve of the most distinguished persons I 
could get together, I had, in addition to the central 
flowers, a full-bloomed hyacinth in a fine French-china 
vase of suitable size at each plate ; and for this innovation 
I received many compliments. 

At the same dinner I had a band of thirty musicians 
in a rear room, which was larger than usual even in the 
houses of the rich. Of course my limited salary would 
not allow me to do this thing often ; but, to make an 
Irish bull, to keep up with fashionable society, you must 
go ahead of them ! At other times I lived very econom- 
ically, as my wants were few and not expensive ; and I 
made much money by speculating in Missouri and United 
States stocks. 

So far as I could learn, I was the first American min- 
ister that ever attempted to entertain general society. 
John Randolph went home in the same ship which bore 
him to St. Petersburg. The other ministers, either dis- 
satisfied with the climate, or discouraged by the great ex- 
pense, where there was so much wealth and display, were 
content to lead a quiet life. When I gave my first gen 
eral ball, there was quite an effort to get an invitation. 
I was told afterward that many wanted to go out of curi- 
osity. When they found that I had more wines and 
drinks than were ever before seen at a party there, as 
well as oysters, which all like, in great abundance, and 
other rare things, they were astonished. As I said be- 
fore, it costs no more to have all the celebrated wines 
and cordials of the world than to have but one. So much 
only will be drunk ; and what is left over will keep, and 
be used again. In fact, they all will not cost so much ; 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 42 I 

for most persons will touch them lightly, and thus spare 
much expense, whilst, if they enter at once upon cham- 
pagne, which they like, they drink a great deal. 

The Russians may be said to be heavy eaters. The 
climate allows, and their active habits, winter and sum- 
mer, leave but little room for indigestion. Hence I think 
the physique of the Russian nobles, men and women, is 
the finest in Europe. 

On one occasion an officer of the Guards had married 
a lady of New York. The army was in summer-quarters, 
near the naval grounds below the city, on the Neva, 
where good substantial buildings were made for the offi- 
cers, whilst the soldiers were in tents. I was invited out, 
but no women were present. The officers were for "a 
bender;" and several of the imperial family were present. 
After dining in a common hall, they adjourned to the 
shade-trees to smoke, and the drinking continued. I 
asked permission to give a few rubles to the soldiers, 
which was allowed. I handed over fifty rubles, as it was 
an international affair. The soldiers came up in mass ; 
and, seizing me, sent me up like the boys would a bull- 
frog on a board. It seemed as if I never would stop ; 
and, at all events, would be dashed to pieces on the re- 
turn voyage. But they caught me ; and, by closing up 
ranks, avoided all chances of my being hurt. 

After this ordeal was over, I had a harder road to 
travel. They keep up the habit of ancient times, and 
have a " Loving Drink-Cup." I have always been a tem- 
perate man in eating and drinking. This cup seemed to 
me to hold at least half a gallon. I had seen the thing 
done before : as many as can get around fill the cup, 
and hand it to you ; and sing an unintelligible song till 
you drink the last drop. To drink all this wine, though 
the best champagne in Europe, threatened not only drunk- 
enness, but death. I had rather have faced a cannon ! 
But what was I to do? No protestations were of any 
avail. So I drank it down ! I was drunk ! I was taken 



42 2 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

to my room, under a cool shade, and waited upon by gen- 
eral officers. They knew the ropes. There was no more 
danger in a half-gallon than in a half-pint. We were 
bound, sooner or later, to part company ; and I did not 
care how soon. Then I went to sleep, and in an hour 
or so woke up as fresh as ever. But I fought shy of such 
entertainments after that. 

The state religion is the Greek Church ; but the powers 
of the Greek Pope of Constantinople are now centered in 
the Czar. The forms are similar to the Catholic ; but more 
humanitarian in many respects. The marriage of all but a 
few of the highest dignitaries of the clergy ameliorates the 
asceticism of isolation. 

The Encyclopedia Britannica, certainly good authority 
in favor of Russia, says: "Generally, however, the Rus- 
sian clergy, although zealous of their dignity, have not the 
spiritual pride or priest-craft of the Roman Catholic order; 
attributable, no doubt, in part, to the kindly national char- 
acter, and, in part, to the humanizing influence of mar- 
riage." Again: "There is, however, much genuine piety 
to be met with ; . . . . donations, free-gifts, offerings, 
and alms being liberally bestowed by both rich and poor. 
There are no entrance-fees, no distinctions for great and 
little, no pews, no reserved ' places in Russian churches. 
The congregation stand. All are equal before God." 

I quote this British authority in support of my assertion 
elsewhere on the humanity of the Russian nation. For 
these effects, or, rather, teachings, of the Church affect all 
the relations of the social system. So I stand by my asser- 
tion, in the face of so much world-wide calumny, that the 
Russian is the most humane people in existence.* 

* "RUSSIAN CRUELTIES." 
Editor Kentucky Herald: — In your journal of December 12th is 
a paper which is a type of the malignant calumnies of the anti- 
Russian press for a century or more. I lived in St. Petersburg 
for nearly nine years, and made Russian life a study; mingling with 
all classes for that purpose. I dined with the Emperor and imperial 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 423 

There is one important reform, however, which begins, 
I learn, to be made, and that is the holidays must be 
diminished ; for there are too many lost days to labor, 
and idleness too often brings more evil in its train than 
good intentions from the reverence of the saints. The 
Russian Government is, however, tolerant of all religions ; 
and conquered peoples are left to their own religions and 
social habits. All that is required is loyalty to the central 
power. Hence Russian conquest is a civilizing assimila- 
tion, and unlike the British, where the conqueror virtually 
enslaves the conquered. After so many years the Rus- 
sians subdued the Circassians, under Grand Duke Michael, 
the brother of the Emperor, Alexander II. "Schimmel," 

families, and took cabbage soup and black bread with the woodmen 
who came from the interior on boats and rafts. Perhaps there is no 
American living or dead who can speak with more authority than I 
can on the real character of Russia. I believe that there is no more 
charitable and humane nation on earth than Russia. I give the 
proof. There are no deaths by absolute poverty in Russia as in 
the great cities of Paris, London, New York, and other European 
cities. Besides the charitable asociations established by law, the 
first nobles in Russia, men and women, yearly, by organized socie- 
ties, collect funds by gifts, needle-work, and other methods, for 
clothes, soup-houses, and bread, which is distributed all winter in 
St. Petersburg; and such methods are pursued in other cities. 
The infants that are drowned and thrown into sewers in Europe 
and America are taken at a day old, if need be, and brought up 
at the public expense in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and other cities. 
These children, when grown up to a suitable age, are put to 
service, and many make a generous living. Russia liberated her 
slaves not by war, and gave them lands. America did neither. 
I dined with the nephew of Prince Dolgorouki, Governor-General 
of Moscow, Viceroy, and a liberated serf or slave was at the table 
as a guest, and made the best dinner-speech on the occasion. 
The Russians open all their pleasure-grounds, beside the public 
parks, to the whole people. They never bar the gates and close 
the doors against "the rabble," as in England and America. In 
the summer the yards are open and the windows without blinds, 
that the humblest peasants may see and hear the music. On all 



424 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

which means Samuel, and indicates him to be of Jewish 
origin, was take prisoner, with his two sons. He him- 
self was kept nominally in prison bounds, but it was the 
bounds of the empire ; whilst his two sons, both of whom 
I knew, were put upon the Emperor's staff. All were as 
happy, no doubt, as if they were in the rude rule of the 
mountain barbarians. Thus Russia makes her whole popu- 
lation solid in loyalty, and powerful in the civilization of 
the great Asiatic Continent. 

In the natural war for dominion between England and 
Russia, every lover of humanity, Christianity, and civiliza- 
tion must wish Russia God-speed. 

Just outside of the fashionable circle, it is a custom 

great occasions of a private nature, all the poor are feasted or 
otherwise entertained by suitable means. In England and America 
even house-servants are treated with contempt. The Russian no- 
blemen speak kindly always to their inferiors ; the English and 
Americans out of the South rarely ever. The Russian Empire is 
large and sparsely populated, so that the means of subsistence do 
not at all press upon the increase of population. In the large 
cities, as I said, no absolute suffering for the necessaries of life 
is possible. 

Now, as to prisons. There was at no time whilst I was in 
Russia, so far as I know and believe, one equal in its infamy to 
the Kentucky Penitentiary. And Governor Blackburn deserves not 
denunciation, but eternal honor, for his manhood and philanthropy, 
against the barbarous clamors of the press, for his reform. When 
I was in St. Petersburg the cholera was several times in that city 
of six hundred thousand, and there was no more sensation than 
if the measles or whooping-cough prevailed. Every subject of the 
disease was taken at once to wholesome hospitals, well attended; 
and then, when convalescent, returned, without charge, to their 
homes. The streets of St. Petersburg were an hundred times 
cleaner than the streets, alleys, and back-yards of Richmond. 
They never burn down the pest-houses in Russia as they did the 
other day in Madison County, when small-pox prevailed. As to 
prisons and Siberia, I am glad to have an opportunity to re- 
fute some of the world-wide calumnies of the anti-Russian press. 
Siberia is not so vile a country as the French penal colony of 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 425 

after meals for each guest to kiss the hand of the hostess, 
and thank her. And the children, before retiring at night, 
kiss their parents affectionately. These are beautiful cus- 
toms, and very humanizing in their effects ; and no where 
is the family more closely united by affection than among 
the Russians. This custom of kissing the hand prevails 
to some extent in the highest society, where persons are 
intimate. 

By the Russian system the oldest brother takes com- 
mand of the army, the first post of power in an autocratic 
government ; the next oldest takes command of the navy. 
But the Emperor Nicholas, knowing Constantine's ambition, 
and remembering that he had overthrown his own elder 
brother, and taken the crown himself, it is said, feared to 
give him the command of the army, but placed him in the 
navy, where a revolt against the autocrat would be impo- 
tent; and he put his second son, Nicholas, at the head 
of the whole land-forces of the empire. Constantine was 
under medium size, spare, and short-sighted, always wear- 
Cayenne, nor the original Australia of England. Three Siberian- 
born ladies married nobles in St. Petersburg — one the Prince Su- 
warrow, the grandson of the Prince Suwarrow of Napoleon's 
times. The other sisters married well — one an officer on the 
staff of the Emperor. I have heard them speak of the ' ' father- 
land " as would a German. And these were the descendants of 
Siberian exiles. I do not hesitate to say that, of all the people 
I ever knew, the Russians are the most genial and hospitable. It 
is true the ranks in Russia are very distinct and marked ; but the 
humane spirit of Russia thaws all coldness, breaks all conventional 
barriers, and fuses the whole into one national feeling, as in no 
other land. That is the reason that Russians never emigrate. 
That is the reason of the invincible courage of the Russian army. 
What calumniators call "stolidity" is unshaken and heroic patri- 
otism. I could fill a book with similar proof, but I hold — 

"Wad but some power the giftie gie us, 
To see oursel's as ithers see us ! " 

C. M. Clay. 
White Hall, Kv. , December- 14, 1883. 



426 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

ing eye-glasses, which gives any one a sinister look. He 
took but little interest in the pastimes of society, and was 
rather a looker-on than a participant. We always form in 
our imagination some idea of noted characters in history, 
and the head of the navy seemed the very Cataline him- 
self. His short-sightedness gave greater rigidity to a face 
already full of discontent and contempt of others ; and his 
isolation in all things, even riding alone in the streets with- 
out servant or companion, but increased the public dread 
and dislike of the man. 

Of all the imperial family, he was the only one whom 
I heard denounced. When the question of liberation of 
the serfs was under discussion in the council, some one 
mentioned the possible discontent of their masters, the 
nobles ; and he said, with great contempt, using the com- 
mon phrase in Russia: "I spit upon the nobles." 

Later, being made Viceroy of Poland, he named some 
of his children after Polish celebrities, and projected a 
separate empire, of which he was to be the autocrat. I 
speak from rumor. Whether the Emperor was consenting 
to the affair, with a view of getting rid of a troublesome 
relative, whom his father had distrusted (for it is said 
he made him take an oath not to conspire against his 
brother), or not, it is certain a great clamor was quickly 
raised against him, and he was recalled. For the pride 
of Russia is especially set against loss of territory ; and 
Constantine was, of all men, the last to whom such favor 
was likely to be shown. 

It was understood that the present Emperor, Alex- 
ander III., was not friendly to him; and I hear that, since 
the latter has been raised to the throne, Constantine has 
taken up his residence in Paris. He was a man of ability; 
and, if not of great wit, was the master of great sarcasm, 
at least — amusing himself at the petty kingdoms of Ger- 
many, in one of which he found his wife, who, as well as 
her daughter, the present Queen of Greece, was noted for 
her beauty. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 427 

The Grand Duke was a great friend oi the American 
cause ; and, no doubt, in conjunction with Gortchacow, 
ably backed up the Emperor in our support. When Lee 
surrendered near Richmond, his Imperial Highness sent 
for me, and in great good glee congratulated me upon 
our triumph, which all saw, of course, re-established the 
Union- upon a firmer ground than ever. As slavery was 
eliminated, and Russia and America united upon a com- 
mon basis of emancipation, of which the Grand Duke and 
I might say, "Quorum pars magna fui" I was much 
elated by this special compliment from the Emperor's 
chief adviser. 

The Grand Duke Nicholas was "a bird of a different 
feather." He was very tall, and rather handsome in per- 
son, with a face of great amiability. He was fond of 
society ; and took all the delight of a school-boy in the 
dances, and other pastimes in the Russian capital. He 
was fond of the ballet, of horse-racing at the summer- 
barracks, and all that. He was deservedly popular. But 
he lacked the ability of his brothers Constantine and Mi- 
chael, who was Governor-General of Circassia at Tiflis, as 
his capital. 

Poor Nicholas! he had a sad time during the Turkish 
war ; and his many disasters called my distinguished friend, 
Ed. de Todleben, of Crimean fame, to the head of the 
army in Turkey, who made quick work of overthrowing 
the Turks. 

It may be just to say here that it was neither Nicholas, 
nor one of his sons, about whom some scandals were cir- 
culated after I left Russia. 

One night, at the private theater of the Princess 
d'ltalie-Suwarrow's palace, a personage of whom I speak 
more hereafter, most of the elite of St. Petersburg were 
present. The Emperor, the Grand Dukes Constantine 
and Nicholas, and other noted Russians, men and women, 
were guests. I, too, was invited; and I sat just behind 
the three personages ,above named, as I did behind Web- 



428 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

ster, on Boston Common in 1844. The princess had then 
changed her name, by marriage, from that of her first 
husband, Count Koucheleff, to Suwarrow her husband, 
Prince d'ltalie and Count du Reminsk, now being on the 
Emperor's staff. The prince, however, though a gentle- 
man and a good fellow, was but the shadow of his better- 
half, the princess. 

Whilst all were expecting the opening of the amateur 
melodrama, in which our hostess played the principal part, 
a sudden noise, like the explosion of small pistols, was 
heard as if under the stage, where the performers were 
to appear. All were startled ; but the imperial brothers — 
all three — took to their heels, and disappeared for the 
time. The audience, however, kept their seats ; and thus, 
by the nonchalance of those who sat nearest the point of 
supposed danger, among whom I was then about the near- 
est, the panic subsided, and no rush was made, and no 
loss of limb or life ensued, as is the ordinary result in such 
crowds. 

For my part I deserved no great credit ; for I saw at 
once what was the matter. Candles are used altogether 
in the houses of the wealthy in Russia ; and the princess, 
to warm and light so large a building, had used steam 
and gas, and the condensation in the tubes produced the 
crackling sound. The Emperor and brothers, however, 
soon returned ; and the play proceeded. 

Now, when Webster scolded Prof. Fowler for eulogiz- 
ing Henry Clay, I thought that he felt unworthy rivalry; 
and when I found myself superior in courage, or self- 
sacrifice, to the sovereign heads of a great empire, I 
could not for the moment but feel some contempt for 
gentlemen who, for their self-preservation, had jeopard- 
ized the lives of many fine women and men. Especially, 
if the Emperor, the life of the empire, was to be saved at 
all hazards, I did not see that the head of the army should 
also take to his heels ! 

But I afterward changed my opinion, when I learned 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 429 

that General Grant* retreated within the fire of his gun- 
boats, leaving his shattered regiments to be driven into 
the Tennessee, as the Federals were at Ball's Bluff, there 
to be drowned as blind kittens. Fortunately, however, 
the gallant Buell and Nelson came up, and drove the 
Confederates back in utter route, after the death of Albert 
Sidney Johnston (he who so gallantly put a stop to my 
foolish duel with Wickliffe), and who had proved himself 
the greatest of the rebel generals. Then Grant, gather- 
ing up such fragments of broken regiments as he could 

* Those who read this book will see that I have omitted many- 
hard things previously published by me against U. S. Grant. As 
an honorable man, not to say a greatly injured man, and, more 
yet, as a patriotic man, I have had to say hard things against 
Grant. But my feelings toward him have changed. I now be- 
lieve him to have been, while President of the United States, 
greatly the victim of baser men ; and, therefore, do him the jus- 
tice to append the following public letter of Edward M. McCook, 
that, in a spirit of fair play, my readers may have something on 
the other side. But I regard it as an unhappy thing that, after 
his death, there appeared in the roll of the "One Hundred" — 
though low down on that roll — his worst enemy, the Immortal 
Fish. — C., 1885. 

Washington Correspondence of Cincinnati Commercial- Gazette. 

Washington, July 24. — Gen. E. M. McCook, the well-known 
and distinguished cavalry officer, has always been a near friend of 
General Grant. He has sent the following communication to a 
friend : 

"The first time I met General Grant was three days before the 
battle of Shiloh, when he was in the prime of his manhood, and on 
the threshold of his future greatness ; the last time I met him was 
after a great disaster had brought sorrow to himself and those dear- 
est to him, and when disease had made its first assault upon his iron 
frame. It was then, when speaking of the glories of the past, the 
misfortunes of the present, and the darkness of the future, he bowed 
his noble head, and from his great heart was wrung this cry: 'Ah! 
General, General, there are some things worse than death.' 

"Now that Grant is dead, the world will begin to study his 
career and appreciate his greatness. Commanding more men than 



430 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

find, rushed to the front ; and, according to his own ac- 
count (in the Century Magazine), when he got within 
gun-shot range, halted till his troops could pass, and see 
the coat-tails of the flying rebels. 

It is true that Napoleon, at Lodi, thought there was 
a time when the chief should fight and die, if need be ; 
but Grant and Nicholas thought the chiefs should survive 
for all time, and at all sacrifices. 

any leader of modern times, it can be truly said of him that he 
never lost a pitched battle ; and, though sometimes repulsed or 
checked, finally fought his way to the results he intended to achieve. 
Grant's military knowledge and skill have sometimes been ques- 
tioned by critics more accustomed to unsheath the pen than the 
sword ; but Belmont, Fort Henry, and Donelson proved that the 
Army of the West had a bold, decided, and fortunate leader, and 
the Government had at last found a General who could win vic- 
tories, and bring back to the despairing heart of the Nation courage 
and hope. Then followed the remarkable campaign in which, in 
less than twenty days, he fought five battles, defeated two armies, 
captured eighty-eight pieces of artillery, and killed, wounded, and 
made prisoners more than thirteen thousand rebels, and concluded 
it all with the capture of Vicksburg, with its garrisons and muni- 
tions of war; then, after Chattanooga, he was made Commander-in- 
Chief of all the armies, and the wisdom of the 'crushing policy' he 
adopted was demonstrated when Lee surrendered the wreck of his 
army at Appomattox, and the fate of the Nation passed from the 
arms of the soldiers into the hands of the politicians. 

' ' I think that had Grant, who was destitute of political ambi- 
tion, been permitted by his advisers to inaugurate a policy which 
his sense of justice and kindness of heart dictated, a thorough and 
cordial political union between the North and South would have 
been much less remote than it is now. I have said that I thought 
him to a great degree destitute of political ambition. The evening 
before his inauguration Gen. George H. Thomas and myself called 
at Gen. Grant's house ; and, after talking over the war and its inci- 
dents, Gen. Thomas, just before leaving, said: 'Well, Grant, how 
do you feel about leaving the old army, and being inaugurated 
President to-morrow?' The reply of the President-elect was: 'Just 
as though I was going into prison for four years.' 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 43 I 

When the Emperor returned, the play proceeded; and 
the princess, in night-dress of mysterious and sacred text- 
ure, with her long, rich hair loosened and nearly touching 
the floor, in the role of a somnambulist, was a vision to 
be remembered, — if not forever, certainly much longer 
than Charlotte Cushman as Lady Macbeth! 

Whilst yet in Russia, before I had any idea that Gen. 
Grant would be the President of the United States, and 

"So many elaborate sketches of the career of General Grant 
have been published in the press of the country, that I could add 
nothing except in the way of personal reminiscences. I saw much 
of him both while he led our armies and after he became Presi- 
dent, and I believe history has recorded no character more perfect 
in its symmetry. Grant has been compared to Napoleon. In his 
soldierly qualities, yes ; but one was an adventurer, who fought for 
empire, and whose genius crowned his ambition with a success 
which left the world no better ; the other a citizen, who emerged 
from poverty, and by the magic of his genius, and the might of 
his sword, cemented a Union which can never again be broken, 
and freed a race which can never again be enslaved. The most 
conspicuous figure in the world for a generation, Grant's nature 
remained simple and modest as a child's. Wielding a greater 
power over the Nation than any man since the days of Washing- 
ton, that power was unselfishly used only for the good of the peo- 
ple; and with the vanquished at his feet, and the victors at his call, 
all he asked of both was 'Let us have peace.' 

"There have been none in this land over whose sickness so 
many have prayed with the tenderness of a great love. His 
patience in suffering touched the hearts of all. He faced death 
as he had faced all things in life, with dignity and courage; and, 
when at last the end came, he went to sleep like a tired child, 
and from the summit of those grand and solemn mountains, hal- 
lowed by the memories of our fathers' struggles for liberty, the 
great soul of our hero passed into the beyond, believing that, if 
there has been errors in his life, the tears of a sorrowing Nation 
would wipe them forever from the memory of men, and blot them 
out from the book of God. 

Edward M. McCook." 



43 2 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

therefore before I had been refused the compliment of re- 
cognition or rejection of my services to the Nation by him, 
a friend of mine proposed to send me some of his photo- 
graphs for myself and family ; but I absolutely refused, 
although the offer was made by a lady. The reason was 
that I had formed an unfavorable estimate of Grant as a 
general and as a statesman. I regarded his aide-de-camp 
and chief-of-staff, Rawlins, as his source of success ; as 
well as the known military talent of his lieutenants, Sher- 
man, Thomas, Buell, Wallace, Mead, etc. Time has 
proved this estimate correct ; and now, with his own 
Memoirs before the public, it must be fully established in 
the judgment of all competent and impartial men. 

The best short account of Gen. John A. Rawlins which 
I have ever read is given by Gen. James Harrison Wilson, 
in his "Reminiscences of General Grant," in the October, 
1885, Century Magazine ; and which, supporting as it does 
my belief that his death, in September, 1869, was a serious 
loss to General Grant at a most important period in his 
career, I take the liberty of copying, as follows: 

"Rawlins was a man of extraordinary ability and force of char- 
acter ; entirely self-made and self-educated. When he was twenty- 
three years of age he was burning charcoal for a living. By the 
meager gains from this humble calling he had paid his way through 
the academy, where he had acquired most of his education. He 
had studied and practiced law, rising rapidly in his profession, and 
acquiring a solid reputation for ability, as a pleader and as a pub- 
lic speaker. He had come to be a leader of the Douglas wing 
of the Democratic Party, and was a candidate for the Electoral 
College on that ticket in i860, before he had reached his thirtieth 
year. Immediately after the rebels fired upon Sumter, he made 
an impassioned and eloquent speech at Galena, in which he de- 
clared for the doctrine of coercion, and closed with the following 
stirring peroration : 

'"I have been a Democrat all my life; but this is no longer a question of 
politics. It is simply union or disunion; country or no country. I have favored 
every honorable compromise; but the day for compromise is past. Only one course 
is left for us. We will stand by the flag of our country, and appeal to the God 
of Battles ! ' 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 433 

"Among the audience was Ulysses S. Grant, late Captain 
Fourth United States Infantry, but then a clerk in his father's 
Galena leather-store. He was not a politician, still less a partisan ; 
but he had hitherto called himself a Democrat, and had cast his 
only presidential vote four years before for James Buchanan. He 
had listened attentively to Rawlins's speech, and had been deeply 
impressed by it, and by the manly bearing of the orator, with 
whom he had already formed an acquaintance; and that night, on 
his way home, he declared himself in favor of the doctrine of 
coercion, telling a friend that he should at once offer his services 
to the Government through the Adjutant-General of the army. 
The story of his fruitless efforts to secure recognition at first, and 
of his final success in getting into the volunteer army through 
Governor Yates, who appointed him Colonel of the Twenty-First 
Illinois Infantry, is well known, and needs no repetition here ; 
but it is not so well known that, the very first day after Grant's 
assignment by seniority to the command of a brigade, he wrote 
to Rawlins, and offered him the place of aide-de-cavip on his staff; 
or that, with equal promptitude, after receiving notice, only a few 
days later, of his appointment as a Brigadier-General, he wrote 
again to Rawlins, offering him the position of Assistant Adjutant- 
General, with the rank of Captain. 

' ' When it is remembered that Rawlins was, at that time, not 
only entirely ignorant of every thing pertaining to military affairs, 
but had never even seen a company of artillery, cavalry, or in- 
fantry, it will be admitted at once that he must have had other 
very marked qualities to commend him so strongly to a profes- 
sional soldier, and this was indeed the case. 

"Having been a politician himself, Rawlins knew many of the 
leading public men from Illinois and the north-west; and, being a 
lawyer, he had carefully studied the relations between the^ States 
and the General Government, and had arrived at plear and decided 
notions in reference to the duties of the citizen toward both. He 
was a man of the most ardent patriotism, with prodigious energy 
of both mind and body; of severely upright conduct, rigid morals, 
and most correct principles. He was not long in learning either 
the duties of his own station, or the general principles of army 
organization; and, what is still -more important, he also learned, 
with the promptitude of one having a true genius for war, the 
essential rules of the military art, so that he became from the 
start an important factor in all matters concerning his chief, whether 

Vol. i.— 28 



434 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

personal or official, and was recognized as such by Grant, as well 
as by all the leading officers in the army with which he was con- 
nected. 

"He did not hesitate, when occasion seemed to call for it, to 
express his opinion upon all questions concerning Grant, the army 
he was commanding, or the public welfare; and this he did in 
language so forcible, and with arguments so sound, that he never 
failed to command attention and respect, and rarely ever failed in 
the end to see his views adopted. It can not be said that Grant 
was accustomed to take formal counsel with Rawlins ; but, owing 
to circumstances of a personal nature, and to the fearless and inde- 
pendent character of the latter, this made but little difference to him. 
Grant himself was a stickler neither for etiquette nor ceremony; 
whilst Rawlins never permitted either to stand between him and 
the performance of what he considered to be a duty. Grant was 
always willing to listen ; and, even if he had not been, he could 
not well have failed to hear the stentorian tones in which Rawlins 
occasionally thought it necessary to impart his views to a staff or 
general officer, so that all within ear-shot might profit thereby. 

' ' I never knew Grant to resent the liberties taken by Rawlins, 
and they were many; but, on the contrary, their personal intimacy, 
although strained at times, and perhaps finally in some degree 
irksome to Grant, remained unbroken to the end of the war, and 
indeed up to the date of Rawlins's death, in 1869. When the 
history of the Great Rebellion shall have been fully written, it will 
appear that this friendship was alike creditable to both and bene- 
ficial to the country, and that Rawlins was, as stated by Grant 
himself, ' more nearly indispensable to him than any other man in 
the army.' Indeed, nothing is more certain than that he was 
altogether indispensable ; and that he was a constant and most im- 
portant factor in all that concerned Grant, either personally or 
officially, and contributed more to his success at every stage of 
his military career than any or all other officers or influences com- 
bined." 

Whilst Rawlins lived, Grant either held his tongue, or 
spoke a few but wise words. Far different was it after 
Rawlins's death. 

How I committed my first breach of etiquette I have 
already written, but this brought me into nearer sympathy 
with the Empress. She was a most lovely woman, men- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 435 

tally or morally, if you please, but very delicate in health, 
with a sad and uneasy but interesting expression of feat- 
ures. She, no doubt, had not found the imperial crown 
unmixed — the thorns, perhaps, being more*prevalent than 
the roses. She was loved by everybody, however; and 
devoted her whole life to her children and to charity. She 
set her face against all irregularities in society, as far as 
she was able ; being in faith and practice a truly pious 
woman. The whole imperial family are all hedged about 
by walls of dignity and reserve, which must be very irk- 
some to all the females of that high position ; so that 
"uneasy lies the head that wears a crown" is not confined 
to the chief alone, but is shared by all his family. How 
often have I seen the deep expression of ennui and re- 
pugnance with which these unfortunate women entered, 
bearing -all their gorgeous dresses and jewels, into the 
usual formalities of state parade ! How often could I say 
for them, without fear of error: Oh! that we could have 
done with this vain show, this unreality and pretense ! 
Oh ! that we could escape to some quiet nook of all 
lovely nature, there to live with those only who love us, 
unseen of hateful, impertinent eyes! — living for ourselves 
alone! — " forcrettingr and forgot !" 

The Empress took occasion often to converse with me, 
as much as propriety would, perhaps, allow. I am sure I 
had her respectful friendship, which I much prized, and 
was sorry to lose. She gave me her photograph, that of 
the Emperor, and all her children, which I yet hold as 
heir-looms in my family. 

Now there were in society three or four women more 
prominent than others, and among them the Princess 
Louise Suwarrow, of whom I have just spoken. She was 
a native of Siberia, and for her beauty was married to the 
Count Koucheleff, of one of the wealthiest and most an- 
cient families of Russia. She had a marble palace on 
the Neva, and was a widow when I came to St. Peters- 
burg. She afterward married the Prince d'ltalie-Suwar- 



436 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

row, son of the Governor-General of St. Petersburg. This 
woman was not so lovely in features as attractive in man- 
ners ; though she would have been considered a beauty 
any where. Her face was regular and plastic, with very 
large and languishing blue eyes ; whilst her hair was only 
rivalled in length and luxuriance by the women of Toluca. 
She was used to entertaining the imperial family in her 
private palace and theater; and the most distinguished 
people of St. Petersburg sought her acquaintance. I knew 
her intimately, and was proud to be numbered with her 
friends. She was one of the twelve whom I dined on one 
occasion, as I have before said. 

One day I was invited by the Emperor to Czarsko 
Selo. This was one of the principal summer-resorts of 
the imperial family, and was quite a village ; and the cus- 
tom is for most of the nobles to accompany the Czar, and 
there spend the summer. These grounds are very exten- 
sive — eighteen miles in circumference — with great forests, 
shrubbery, and lakes intermixed. The Princess Suwarrow 
was also domiciled there with her husband, the prince, who 
was on the staff of the Emperor. It so happened that the 
Emperor sent me to ride in his carriage, with two liveried 
servants, the driver and footman, as was usual. Such 
livery all the world knew. By mere accident the Princess 
Suwarrow was, with one female attendant and several of 
her footmen in livery, rowing in a light boat over the lake. 
As I drove up I stopped the carriage, and, at her request, 
took a seat with her in the boat. St. Petersburg is so 
near the pole, 6o° North, that a small blast from thence 
will often in a very short time bring on a rain ; so that 
most persons, especially the military officers, wear their 
overcoats all summer. Madame Suwarrow, at all events, 
had not anticipated a rain ; and was dressed very lightly, 
as it was midsummer. She had not even brought any 
wraps, and I had none in the carriage. So, what was to 
be done? I told her to take her companion into the car- 
riage, let her men return on foot, and to drive home ; and 



.. - . 




i ■ ■ 



i RIE, EMPRESS 






OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 437 

I would find shelter under the trees till the carriage re- 
turned. This she seemed quite reluctant to do ; but at 
length got in and drove off. I remained under the trees 
till the carriage returned, when I went back to the palace. 
Now, I did what any born gentleman would do ; and I 
would do so again. But I had violated etiquette ; and 
the public had seen the princess in the Emperor's car- 
riage, driving home, and no reason was given, or possi- 
ble, of course. But such is the misfortune of an au- 
tocracy, that no explanation of adverse circumstances is 
possible. And I should never have suspected the cause 
of the Empress's displeasure if Prince Alexander Dolgo- 
rouki had not asked me about it, as we were intimate ; 
and when, for the first time, I was made aware that a 
scandal had been the result of my gallantry to a woman 
in danger of her health, and which danger could only be 
avoided by taking the carriage. We were at no time in 
the carriage together. I saw that the prince took my ex- 
planation in good part, and believed in my sincerity ; but 
he smiled in a sad way, which as much as said: "It's all 
over with you! " 

This is a frank and true account of an affair which my 
enemies seized hold of in America to injure me ; and was 
the foundation, no doubt, of the calumnies put forth in all 
the New York Republican journals in one day from Wash- 
ington, when I would no longer act with the party. But 
the Empress never forgave me, and was ever after re- 
served. Thus in the two instances, in which I acted in 
the most humane and conscientious manner, I reaped the 
fruits which only belong to evil-doers ! So virtue and vice 
seem to march with equal power in the wake of Fate! 



CHAPTER XXI 



Madame Grimski Corsikoff. — Prince Gortchacow, with Portrait. — My esti- 
mate OF HIS FINE CHARACTER. — HlS LETTER TO ME ON THE FALL OF RICH- 
MOND. — The new Union of the States. — Austria's reason for disliking 
the success of the federal arms. — her position among the powers. — 
Reflections on the eventual condition o/ Europe. — Destiny of Eng- 
land. — German Beer-Gardens. — Souvenirs. — Photographs 



A WOMAN who was, for a while, quite a sensation 
in St. Petersburg was Madame Grimski Corsikoff. 
One night at a great ball I saw, for the first time, where 
beauty is so common in high life, a lady who at once 
commanded attention. She was above ordinary size, with 
sloping shoulders, rounded arms and waist sufficiently 
large, and a bust which wouid rival the finest Greek 
statues. Her hair was a dark auburn and luxuriant, such 
as always attends the finest health ; and she was as 
ruddy as a rose-bud. * This was her first entrance into 
grand society ; and, as she was soon aware of the sensa- 
tion her personal appearance produced, this self-conscious- 
ness gave an illumination almost spiritual to her eyes. She 
was the daughter of a Russian commoner, near Moscow; 
and had now come to the Russian capital for the first time. 
Among the nobility of large estates there is always a 
supervisor, who takes charge of the lands and operatives ; 
keeps the accounts, and places the profits in some bank, 
where the indolent and pleasure-loving proprietor draws 
at wjll. One day the supervisor came to Corsikoff and 
said: "Sir, here are your books; and you are utterly 
ruined." There was no reason to doubt his honesty; and 
the master was in despair at his sudden poverty. The 
lather of Madame Corsikoff then further said: "I have a 

*The criminal and disgusting face-painting is unknown in Russia. — C. 
433 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 439 

daughter, well educated and of fine appearance, and just 
verging into womanhood. If your son will marry her, 
her estate will stand in the place of your own, for it is 
as large." Corsikoff assented; and the marriage was con- 
summated. 

Such a sudden change of fortune, which none can well 
understand who do not know how rigidly the walls of rank 
are maintained in Russia, turned the head of the poor 
woman. The Russians, of all people, have the truest 
ideas of beauty ; for with them health, vigorous, buoyant 
health, is the prime factor. This Corsikoff had in the 
highest degree. She received great adulation, affected 
great style ; and, for a while, drove six horses to her car- 
riage, which, though not in good taste there, was yet al- 
lowable. But by degrees she lost caste, was crowded 
from society, and at length disappeared entirely from St. 
Petersburg. 

Once I had a large party; both the Grand Dukes, 
Constantine and Nicholas, honoring me with their pres- 
ence. I made it a point to gather together the most 
beautiful women in St. Petersburg, so far as I could com- 
mand them, eminent among whom was the Princess Marie 
Dolgorouki. On this occasion, as I was told by my em- 
ployes afterward, Corsikoff was sure of being invited ; for 
I knew her well. But I refused to send her a ticket of 
invitation. She had already had her wardrobe fitted up 
in the best style ; and, when she found that she was neg- 
lected, she tore her dresses up in a fit of despair. The 
last I heard of her she was in Paris — the purgatory of 
the fallen. 

Prince Gortchacow, like most men of high intellectual 
structure, was quite an admirer of the fairer half of crea- 
tion, and was fond of talking of their charms. He was 
born in 1800. He said to me one day: "Ah, General, if 
I was only as young as you!" I replied: "Prince, you 
are but a boy yet!" "No indeed," said he; "I have to 
reserve all my forces," touching his forehead. 



44-0 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

This is a wicked world we live in. The prince had a 
beautiful girl living in his own house, who passed as his 
niece, and was so received in society. I made it a rule 
all my life to keep aloof from other people's affairs, so I 
never inquired any thing about this matter. I only listened 
to what others said, and made no replies. On the occa- 
sion of a court ball, I understood Mademoiselle A was 

not to be invited. A great sensation was caused in the city ; 
and, no doubt, great political changes would have been the 
result ! She, however, appeared at the ball ; but seemed 
very reserved and depressed in spirits. Not long after she 
disappeared from St. Petersburg, and one of the branches 
of the imperial family was also found absent. The prince 
was deeply affected by this event, and seemed never to 
recover his vivacity of spirit. I suppose, however, that 
he always maintained his ascendency in the councils of the 
Czar; and, late in life, long after I left Russia, he retired 
to Austria, to get into a more equable climate. His death 
was surrounded with some mystery, and a woman was in 
the case, of which, however, I knew nothing save rumor. 

Gortchacow had but little philanthropy in his organiza- 
tion. He was never the victim of sentimentalism. His 
intellect was expansive, and his ideas of the progressive 
order; but all advance was to be made in subordination to 
the autocratic power. In speaking one day of some act 
of the Emperor, he said: "I told him he made the laws, 
and should be the last to violate them." 

He was, of course, the co-laborer in the liberation of 
the serfs ; but it was a measure of development with him, 
no more. A young enthusiast from America being intro- 
duced by me, proposed that Russia might make a useful 
colonization of the American freedmen in Poland, where 
the population was rather sparse by reason of her many 
revolutions. After the young man had retired, Gortcha- 
cow said: "We have no use for such a class of people, 
of slow capacity. We keep a few as door-keepers in the 
palace, as ornaments; that is all!" 



Of CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 44 1 

When the Monitors were invented, Russia followed our 
lead, and introduced them into her navy. There was made 
of metal a beautiful miniature Monitor, and presented by 
the naval officers to the prince. At one of his balls it was 
displayed to the public admiration ; and Gortchacow seemed 
very proud of it. This showed me that he was the leader 
in all such advance. 

There was a society in St. Petersburg, incorporated by 
the English residents, and called the "English Club;" but 
the foreign element had been gradually eliminated, and it 
was now altogether Russian. Here, on the occasion of 
the American navy coming to Russia, they were enter- 
tained. I and others, as before related, made speeches, 
and also Gortchacow. His manner was fine, and his de- 
livery facile and expressive. The speech was short, but 
forcible. I took occasion to say to him one day: "Prince, 
it is a pity you have not a House of Commons ; you would 
make a great leader." The prince I feared would not be 
pleased with my freedom ; but he was quite full of the 
idea. And I always had my suspicions that, if the Nihil- 
ists had not, by their insane and wicked course, interfered 
with the whole liberal course of Gortchacow's policy, a 
well-guarded Parliament might have been the result. But 
the attempted overthrow of the Imperial Personage was 
never, and could never be, in his thoughts ; and the reac- 
tion was, no doubt, encouraged by him, when his plans 
had been made no longer possible. 

These are but speculations of my own, and not drawn 
from any revelations from the prince ; but, from a close 
observation of his measures, and the sequence of events, 
I do not hesitate to say that in this the prince was right. 
For a Republic, following in the wake of assassination, 
could produce no other result than the most disastrous 
anarchy, and a dissolution of the empire into petty tyran- 
nies and ancient barbarism. 

The work which Gortchacow has done deserves the 
gratitude of Russia and the world. Nihilism will perish ; 



442 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

but his liberal and intellectual forces will survive, for the 
civilization of the Russian people and the consolidation of 
the empire. 

Gortchacow was of one of the oldest families of the 
Russian nobility, unmixed with western blood. His stature 
was medium, and head and face not remarkable. When 
I went to Russia his hair was already gray ; but his eyes, 
of a mixed gray and brown, were full of fire. I never 
saw a man of a more highly nervous temperament. When 
he was interested in your words he was a good listener, 
keeping his eyes ever on yours, and seeming to drink in 
every word. But, when the subject was not agreeable, 
he was abrupt and dictatorial to the same degree. His 
writing-table, of considerable length, was near the win- 
dow of his reception-room. He would sit with his back 
to the light, and near the wall ; and there he would keep 
his eyes upon the visitor, whose face was generally, of 
course, toward the light. Finding this was a system with 
him, I would take a similar position with his, and ob- 
serve him with equal closeness. I felt myself a match 
for any man within my own circle of action and thought ; 
and Gortchacow soon learned to treat me as such. I 
often heard, from others, of high compliments he paid 
me. He was fond of Latin quotations, and in the short 
notes which among many received, and which I propose 
to publish in the second volume of this work, he begins 
one with: " Mea culpa" — my fault. He early entered 
diplomatic life ; was gradually advanced, and succeeded 
Count Nesselrode of Napoleon's time, who was yet living 
in 1 86 1, and whose acquaintance I made before his death, 
which occurred about that time. He reminded me of 
Albert Gallatin, and remained chancellor through life; but 
Gortchacow was acting as premier, and only was made 
chancellor later 

In general ability and address I think he was not 
equalled in his time, though he had many great rivals in 
the premierships of the nations — Bismarck, Palmerston, 




P RI N C E G-0 RT C HA C O W 

ELLi iR OF THE RUSS CAJSI E M PIRE 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 443 

D'Israeli, and others. In his pecuniary matters he was 
penurious; and personally he was not popular in St. 
Petersburg - . His vast field of observation and thought 
left him but little time for relaxation, and the amenities 
of life. He was essentially an aristocrat, and had less 
courtesy to inferior men than Russians generally, who are 
very careful of the feelings of others. He was married 
but once, lost his wife before I knew him, but had two 
sons living ; neither of whom made great promise of 
future fame. 

Gortchacow was, of course, the leading man of Rus- 
sia. I saw a great deal of him, and took great care to 
make him my friend. In this, I think, I certainly succeeded. 
When I was invited to Moscow, on my return he wrote 
me a note to call upon him to give an account of my 
visit ("ovation"); and he seemed greatly pleased to learn 
with what enthusiasm I had been received. I always sus- 
pected that he was at the bottom of many honors paid 
me by the Russians ; and in my fight with Seward, which 
he perfectly understood, he was always my zealous friend. 
On the whole, my association with him was a great epi- 
sode in my life, from which I reaped much pleasure and 
intellectual force. 

LETTER OF GORTCHACOW. 

Copie d'un telegramme de M. de Stoekl, en date de Crook- 
haven, le 3-15 Avril, 1865. 

" Third, Richmond has fallen. This breaks entirely the mili- 
tary and political organization of the South." 

Voici, mon cher ministre, copie d'un telegramme de M. Stoekl 
qui m'announce un brilliant succes des armes Federales. Dieu 
veuille qu'il en resulte le prochaine cessation de la lutte, et la 
restitution d'une Union forte et puissante. Tout a vous. 

Gortchacow. 
le 3 Avril. 

After the surrender of Lee, the Union was, of course, 
regarded as restored. The different legations at St. 
Petersburg — all sympathizing with the South — made me 



444 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

hold aloof from them, except by formal intercourse. 
When the Republic was in danger, they were rather cold 
toward me ; but, as soon as our cause grew triumphant, 
their whole manner changed. Even across the street, in 
our walks, they would change to the front, and raise their 
hats ! Such is the way of the great. 

Austria, of course, was our most pronounced enemy in 
Europe, as the Emperor's brother, Maximilian, had been 
placed on the Mexican throne. Being in a squad of no- 
bles and diplomates, in which Austria was included, one 
remarked : " It was lamentable that the Emperor should 
have been shot, instead of being held as a prisoner of 
war." My term of long sufferance had ceased, and I was 
the representative of a great Nation once more. I re- 
plied: "Yes, it is much to be regretted that they should 
have shot Mexicans wearing uniforms, and fighting in de- 
fense of their homes against a foreign invader; it is not, 
therefore, strange that, when fortune favored them, those 
poor barbarians should have followed so illustrious an ex- 
ample." 

This cut to the very core, but nothing was said ; noth- 
ing could be said. The Russians who were present much 
enjoyed the thing; but it was wormwood to the Austrians. 

The action of Russia in the war for Hungarian inde- 
pendence saved that empire, as is well known ; and when, 
in the Crimean War, Austria stood seemingly neutral, but 
in fact sympathizing with the allied powers, Russia keenly 
felt their ingratitude. As so many of the Austrian and 
Turkish provinces are composed in great part of the 
Slavs and Greek Church, Russia took especial pains to 
court them. A large delegation of the race was enter- 
tained at St. Petersburg by the nobles unofficially, and 
in which the lines of unity were insisted on. I was not 
surprised, then, at the Turkish War, in which Austria was 
worsted as well as Turkey. The alliance between Aus- 
tria and Germany is not, therefore, so much against Italy 
or France as against Russia; for Germany fears Russia's 



OF CASSIUS MAKCELLUS CLAY. 445 

approach to the Bosphorus, and the overthrow of the Aus- 
trian Empire. But Russia will never forgive Austria ; and 
Turkey and Austria are bound to fall. Whether Russia 
holds the Straits, or a new state supported by all the 
European powers results, she will be the gainer in having, 
if not a subject people, at least an ally against England 
and Western Europe. 

The two great powers, as Napoleon seemed to foresee, 
will eventually be, in the world's history, Russia and the 
United States. The liberal spirit in all the great powers, 
including France, will overthrow at last even German au- 
tocracy. It is barely possible that all Europe may become 
Republican. If so, then Russia may be stayed in her 
westward march. 

England has played a great part in history, but I think 
she even now carries too much sail for the bulk of her 
ship ; and the great Empire of the world hastens to its 
dissolution. For this I have no aspirations ; but, on the 
contrary, I feel like giving a helping hand to the old 
father-land, and, by our protection, allowing her a happy 
old age. At all events, though sympathizing with Ire- 
land's real wrongs, I would effectually dynamite the dyna- 
miters ! 

Since writing up to this point, and in review, the 
threatened war, so long brewing between Russia and 
Great Britain, seems about to burst into a conflagration. 
It is possible England may, by a supreme effort, defend 
her allies, the Afghans, against Russia's advance; but 
Russia remains on the border all the same. Can Eng- 
land much oftener, or much longer, submit to such life- 
struggles? Again, the subject people of the East can 
not fail to see that, while Russia assimilates her con- 
quered subjects, England enslaves hers. And, in such 
issues, where will the unbiassed sympathies of the intel- 
ligent world rest but on the side of the oppressed? If 
England could move all her wealth to India, and there 
establish her central power, assimilating Indians and Chi- 



446 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

nese under one great consolidated empire, giving up her 
islands to Ireland and her insatiate European rivals, she 
might survive indefinitely. Otherwise, it is but a ques- 
tion of time when "she must go!" 

There are said to be in St. Petersburg eighty thou- 
sand Germans. These being, some Russian subjects and 
some merely denizens, engaged in trade or manufactures, 
keep up the customs of the father-land, and live much 
apart from all others. They have their summer and winter 
beer-gardens and saloons. As the social and moral effects 
of this feature of German life is much discussed and con- 
demned by many Puritans, I frequented often these resorts 
to see and judge for myself. 

Imagine, then, an enclosed park on one of the beauti- 
ful islands of the Neva, in the suburbs of the city, con- 
taining several acres of fine old trees, with aqreeable 
shade, and gravel walks, refreshment and drinking-rooms, 
bowling-alleys, and a fine band of music, an immense 
cask of beer on tap, and from which are filled with cool 
and foaming liquid the several glasses borne by waiters, 
and which are distributed to the guests sitting around 
tables under the trees, or on the benches which surround 
the music-stand, and you have some idea of the beer- 
garden. Here the Germans — men, women, and chil- 
dren — resort on Sundays, where all, the young and the 
old, take generally beer, and their national cakes, the 
pretsel, or refreshments of ham and eggs, sausages, etc., 
and listen to the music, or promenade about the walks. 

Now, I was much a frequenter of these gardens, and 
I never saw a drunken man or woman in them during all 
my stay in that country. Beer with them is not a mere 
drink, but stands as tea or coffee — as a part of the re- 
past ; and to restrict them in its use, by sumptuary laws, 
would be like stopping the pork and beans of the Yan- 
kee, or the ham and eggs of the Southerner. Here the 
pent-up business men, women, and children of the crowded 
city enjoy fresh air, light, and the beauties of nature, and 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 447 

thus avoid the separation of families, and retain the whole- 
some restraints of the same, which are lost to the Amer- 
ican method of treating the Sabbath. 

On this side of the Atlantic, these gardens and saloons 
are frequented by another class of men and women, whose 
failings come of their own degraded culture, or perverse 
nature ; and for which the German customs are not at all 
responsible. On the whole, then, I am greatly in favor, 
after long experience and observation, of the German beer- 
garden ; and in favor of full liberty to all in the spending 
of the Sabbath. For the way to cure intemperance is, not 
by prohibition and law, so much as by finding higher and 
less debasing pleasures for body and mind. And here is 
room for the philanthropic of all sects, where charity or 
common funds provide music, libraries, cheap refreshments, 
fresh air, heat, cleanliness, and good-cheer of all innocent 
kinds. 

The limits of these Memoirs will not allow me to in- 
dulge much in the mention of personal friendships of 
great value to me, but of little interest to the reader. 
Yet I must briefly touch upon some names to whom I 
owe especial remembrance. First, the imperial family of 
Russia, to all of whom is due grateful appreciation in both 
a personal and political sense. I have the photographs of 
all, and, I think, the autographs of most of them. Her 
Imperial Majesty gave me the photographs from life of 
the Emperor, herself, and all her children. The present 
Emperor and Her Imperial Majesty gave me their photo- 
graphs and their autographs, and honored me by request- 
ing my own photograph, which was proudly given. The 
Grand Duchess Constantine gave me her photograph and 
that of her beautiful daughter, the Queen of Greece, in an 
elegant velvet frame, with their autographs. The Grand 
Duchess Helena was one of the imperial family who much 
honored me. Also the Prince Pierre d'Oldenbourg and 
family. The prince was a man of intellectual tastes, with 
great simplicity of character, and always, though unusual 



44-8 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

with the imperial family, returned my visits. His daughter 
married the Grand Duke Nicholas, the Emperor's brother. 
Count Gregoire Stroganoff, who married the Grand Duch- 
ess Mary, the Emperor's sister, was the finest looking man 
in Russia. Prince Gortchacow and sons, and Madame 
Princess Radziwill, his sister-in-law ; the princes Vladimir, 
Bazile, and Alexander Dolgorouki and their families ; 
Prince Paul Gagarin and his son's wife and daughter, with 
whom I spent many pleasant days; the Princes Svloff; the 
Count Jean Apraxine and his lovely wife and daughters. 
The Count Orloff Davidoff and his family ; the Count 
Moussine Pouschkine and family ; Count G. Koucheleff- 
Besborodko, with whom I was as one of the family in his 
magnificent palace in the city, and his elegant chateau on 
the bank of the Neva, with an hundred acres of landscape 
grounds. I also saw something of his countess, who was 
much abroad. I was intimate with Paul Kozloff, his father, 
mother, and beautiful sister, who married Colonel Klott, 
the aide-de-camp of the Emperor; Baron Stieglitz, the Rus- 
sian banker, and lady, who entertained me much at his city 
and country mansions ; Princess Helene Kotschoubey, at 
the head of Russian society outside of the imperial family. 
She had a splendid city residence, and grand landscape 
grounds and residence in the country, where I was often 
entertained. Her son, Prince Belosselski, married Made 
moiselle Skobeleff, the sister of the famous general in 
the late Crimean War. The family were Scobel, Scotch, and 
the name was Russianized by adding leff. Her daughter, 
the Princess Troubetzkoi, though plain-featured, was very 
fascinating. Princess Louise Suwarrow ; the Princess Orbe- 
liani; Baroness J. Wrewsky and sister; the Countess Hed- 
vige Rzewuska and husband, to one of whose children I 
stood godfather; Madame (Countess) Barschoff and her 
sister, nieces of Prince Gortchacow; Madame de Polovt- 
soff, the adopted daughter of Baron Stieglitz, a lovely 
woman ; Mad'lle Olga Navikoff; the Countess Pratassoff- 
Bachmeteff and son, the count, and family ; Baroness de 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 449 

Jomini and her father's family; Madame Gisiko and family; 
die Baroness Olga Chroustchoff ; the beautiful Countess 
Borch, and her father and family ; the princes Gallitzin, with 
one of whom the admiral, Mr. Fox, and I dined; Gromoff, 
a wealthy commoner, who was very hospitable, and who 
also gave a soiree to Fox, was much my friend ; as were 
also the Americans, Wm. L. and Thomas Winans, and 
George W. Whistler, brother to the famous English artist, 
also Consul Pierce and family, and Consul Geo. Pomutz, 
with all of whom I was quite intimate, and by them often 
entertained, — all of those, and many others, no doubt, 
equally worthy of mention, whom I must pass over. 

Among the most beautiful women with whom I was 
acquainted I may name the Queen of Greece Olga, Alex- 
andra her mother, and the Grand Duchess Helene; the 
three princesses Dolgorouki ; the princesses Mesdames Kot- 
schoubey, Radziwill, Didiani, and Suwarrow ; the demoisel- 
les Kosloff, Opotschinine, and Antoinette Schoumoff; the 
Princess Dolgorouki, the niece of Governor-General Prince 
V. Dolgorouki, of Moscow — now Scherbatoff, I think; 
Madame the Countess Orloff Davidoff, now Pierre Was- 
siltchikoff, of Moscow ; the Countesses Borch and Catha- 
rine E. Apraxine ; Madame the Princess Elise Korakine ; 
the Baroness Louise Jomini, and Madame Na. Polovt- 
sofl, the Baroness Julie Wrevsky, etc. 

These, of course, are not all of those to whom men- 
tion is due ; but, although my visiting-list for nearly nine 
years ran up to many hundreds, and almost thousands, I 
can only name a few. In the matter of beauty they are 
not named in the order of precedence; but "the last may 
even be first." Of those named in this chapter, I have 
most of the photographs and autographs. So many won- 
derfully fine women can hardly be seen in any country in 
one assemblage. And even among the ballet-dancers 
Pauline Lebideva, Petipas, Grankine, Radenor, and others, 
would be regarded as beauties any where. 

I have the photographs of the princesses Kotschoubey, 
Vol. I. — 29 - 



450 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Radziwill, and Didiani, all three widows and grand- 
mothers, I believe ; but no one would then take them to 
be even forty years old, so well does unrivalled beauty de- 
light and vitalize its possessors. They were still fond of 
admiration ; and the Princess Radziwill, whose husband was 
generally absent in Paris (making her a "grass widow," as 
they say in Arkansas), was remarkable for her beauty, in 
the time of Nicholas. The two first, when I began to like 
better the daughter and niece, Madame Barschoof and 
the Princess Troubetzkoi, grew rather cold toward me. 
But I mean no offence ; they will forgive me in saying 
their beauty, as transmitted to the children of their blood, 
was still to me attractive. 

Among- the foreign legations I must mention Sir An- 
drew Buchanan and lady ; the Baron de Talleyrand- 
Perigord and lady, and the Duke and Duchess d'Osuna, 
and Baron Gevers and lady of Holland, who were ever 
kind and friendly toward me. 



CHAPTER XXII. 



Governor Curtin, of Pennsylvania, is appointed to relieve me. — I return 
Home. — "An American Diplomate." — Effect of my Cuban Speech.— The 
Immortal Fish. — Catacazy and the Perkins' Claim Swindle. — General 
Grant and the Battle of Shiloh. — Bazil Duke's Statement. — The Auto- 
nomy of the Southern States. — My Speech in New York City silenced 
by custom-house claquers. — i pay the " tribune " for publishing it 
correctly. — Charles A. Dana. — How the South was made "Solid." 



AS the election of 1868 approached, my desire to re- 
turn home increased ; but I was resolved to outlive 
Seward in office, if possible. I had been on good terms 
with Jesse Grant, the father of Ulysses S., and had held 
a lengthy correspondence with him at Covington, whilst 
his son was yet a farmer-lad in Ohio. As Seward had so 
much badgered me, I was desirous to get an endorsement 
from the President, as well as the support of the Senate. 
When I proposed to return home, I wrote an account of 
my difficulties with Seward, and sent it to Grant, hoping 
he would do me the justice which was due one who had 
faithfully served the country at home and abroad. To this 
Grant sent me a very kind reply; but, after he was inau- 
gurated, and had placed the Immortal Fish in the premier- 
ship, Governor Curtin was nominated and confirmed, and 
relieved me at St. Petersburg. 

In the meantime the Immortal Fish had written me 
officially that I would be more agreeable to the President 
if I were more respectful to Seward ; and that, although 
he had retired from the foreign secretaryship, he was not 
out of favor with the President. That was the substance 
of the thine; and so I answered with defiance and con- 
tempt. Of course I would not use undignified words to 
the Immortal Fish: but that was the upshot of my official 
paper. 

45i 



452 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

A. G. Curtin and I were old friends, and I was glad 
to have one relieve me whom I could treat with courtesy. 
But I said to Curtin: "You will not stay long at this 
court." "Why?" "Because you are too honest a man 
to favor the Perkins' swindle ; and, as the Immortal Fish 
comes in under Seward's influence, you will have to go 
for black-mail, or lose your place." 

I fear, however, from the following extracts, which I 
clip from the New York World of May 25, 1885, that 
Curtin gave way to the heavy pressure of the Washington 
banditti, as he seems to have had a rough time at St. 
Petersburg: 

Special Correspondence of the World. 

AN AMERICAN DIPLOM ATE — MINISTER CURTIN'S FIVE YEARS' 

SERVICE AT ST. PETERSBURG. 

Washington, May 23. — Andrew G. Curtin, of Pennsylvania, was 

for five years our Minister to St. Petersburg One of 

the earlier incidents of Gov. Curtin's career at St. Petersburg oc- 
curred at a dinner where Gortchacow, the Chancellor of the Rus- 
sian Empire, sat opposite to him. Mr. Curtin was unknown to 
most of the guests. Gortchacow began talking to him in a very 
abrupt, brusque fashion about the Alabama Claims Commission, 
which had just been established. 'It will never succeed,' said he. 
' You Americans are always getting up some new thing. The prin- 
ciple of it is opposed to every tradition of European diplomacy. 
Have you read the English press upon this subject?' 'Yes,' said 
the Governor. ' I have read what they have to say. But it is 
barely possible they are mistaken.' Gortchacow did not drop the 
subject. 'Have you seen,' said he, 'the speech of Lord John Rus- 
sell, in which he denounces the commission as a humbug?' Curtin 
had been listening, with a very mild air, to all this talk. He now 
turned upon the chancellor. He said, with great abruptness and 
dignity: 'Yes, I have read his speech. I also remember his speech 
denouncing your plan for suppressing the Polish insurrection. Your 
reply to him then was so overwhelming that it took away from him 
completely the little sense that he ever had.' At this all of the 
guests applauded, and Gortchacow was quite content to drop the 
subject. 

Gortchacow's opinion, which Mr. Curtin withheld, had been 
very vigorously expressed. He said that this 'damned French 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 453 

scoundrel'* should never have any help from him in getting back 
his throne, as he regarded him as a man dangerous to the peace- 
ful condition of affairs in Europe. When Curtin returned to St. 
Petersburg, Gortchacow invited him to dinner. During the dinner 
he said to Curtin: 'You have been away.' 'Yes, in London.' 
'You saw many people there?' 'Yes.' 'A number of distin- 
guished people?' 'Yes, I saw some prominent American friends 
of mine.' 'I am told that you also saw the man who at one time 
seemed to hold in his hands the destinies of Europe.' 'Yes, I saw 
him,' said Mr. Curtin. 'Have you any objections to telling me the 
nature of the conversation you had with him ? ' 'It was not im- 
portant, ' was the reply. ' It was mainly upon personal topics. ' 
Here Gortchacow said, with a very knowing look : ' I know all the 
details of that conversation. I am very much obliged to you for 
your discretion in not communicating to Louis Napoleon my views 
upon the reestablishment of the French Empire.' As there was no 
third person present at the interview between Mr. Curtin and the 
Ex-Emperor, this interview gave him a very high opinion of the 
completeness of the Russian spy-service. 

During the Catacazy affair the Russian Government came very 
near giving Mr. Curtin his passports. The Russian authorities were 
very much irritated over the neglect of the Grand Duke Alexis, 
upon his arrival at Washington. Owing to the trouble then exist- 
ing between the State Department and Minister Catacazy, no offi- 
cial notice was taken of the Grand Duke. Novakoff, a friend of 
Curtin's, came to him and said: 'The authorities are thinking of 
sending you your passports. It will be nothing personal to you. 
You must not take it as a desire to get rid of you. We want you 
to consent to go to Cronstadt for a time, and then return. ' ' No, 
sir,' said Mr. Curtin. 'I am here as the representative of the 
United States. If my passports are sent me, I shall go home. ' 
Novakoff then arranged a dinner, at which Gortchacow was present. 
At this informal repast Curtin was able to explain a good many 
things about the Catacazy affair that he could not have done offi- 
cially. It was to his explanation that the recall of the Minister 
was due. T. C. Crawford. 

It seems from these extracts that Curtin was at once 
in antagonism with our old ally, Russia. 

"In all the time I was in Russia I never heard Gortchacow, or any Russian gen- 
tleman, use an oath. — C, (S85. 



454 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

The American public would, no doubt, like to know 
what caused Catacazy's recall ! These revelations give 
accented significance to the Grand Duke's repeated invi- 
tations, both at St. Louis and Louisville, for my return to 
Russia. 

Whilst I was yet in New York, waiting to receive the 
remainder of my salary — for I determined never to enter 
Washington City whilst Grant and the Immortal Fish 
were in power — I wrote to the auditor for a settlement. 
He returned my account with the balance in my favor. 
But, when I made my Cuban speech, he revised the ac- 
count, and sent in a new sheet making me debtor to the 
Government. I was not the man to submit to such plain 
robbery, so I employed J as. H. Embry and Reverdy John- 
son to settle my account with the treasury ; and they finally 
got more than I claimed, after paying themselves their fees. 
This either shows that they do business in a very loose 
way at the treasury, or they intended to punish me for my 
defection from Grant, or both these motives were active. 

In the meantime Catacazy, the special friend of Gort- 
chacow, and on good terms with myself, arrived as Rus- 
sian Minister at Washington. The banditti not only 
brought forward the old swindle, but they hastened to 
bring down upon him the President's displeasure, and the 
immense mass of dignity accumulated on the front of 
the immortal Fish. Catacazy, being a shrewd Greek, 
took the precaution to have a witness seated in an ad- 
joining room, and thus exposed the intrigues of Seward's 
followers to black-mail the Russian Emperor. 

In all these and other most discreditable performances 
Hamilton Fish stood unflinchingly for eight years on the 
dark side. The formidable array of those events which 
I had prepared, moved by pity for Grant's unhappy end, 
I suppress ; and, instead, introduce the Minister Catacazy's 
presentation of the Perkins' matter, as given on pp. 365 — 
404 of these Memoirs. 

Grant's whole political and civil career, ending in the 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 455 

unfortunate affair in Wall Street, only needed his account 
of the battle of Shiloh, as told by himself, to convince the 
world that my estimate of him was true to the life. It 
was a misnomer of the highest type to call Grant's troops 
at Pittsburg Landing "an army." It seems that he knew 
not where Johnston or his forces were; or, at the least, 
where he was himself. It was more like a Donnybrook 
Irish fair, where the detached regiments and brigades and 
army corps were ready to hit a head wherever they saw 
it — friend or foe — than any thing else. And the farce 
was about to be completed, when the fiery Nelson was 
preparing to open his fire upon the fugitives — who had 
crowded the Tennessee River banks, like our poor fellows 
at Ball's Bluff, for easy slaughter — had not Albert Sidney 
Johnston, the greatest of Confederate generals, been killed 
in battle. 

But Buell, Wallace, and Nelson came with a new army 
and gained the day, it seems, unknown to Grant, who, at 
last, as the army were about flying, according to his own 
account, gathered up some fugitives from the battle, and, 
when he got within sight of the coat-tails of the flying 
Confederates, retired behind his troops, and, like Falstaff, 
killed over again the dead Percy ! 

Did any body ever hear before of a great army lying 
along side of another great army, and either not knowing 
or trying to know where the enemy were, or their num- 
bers ? Was that generalship which had the Union army 
spread out with great intervals between the corps — some 
of them being in line, and some out of all reach of com- 
ing into line — so that every corps, big and little, pre- 
sented both flanks to the enemy's attack? Did any body 
ever hear of such an order as Grant gave to Wallace — 
if he ever gave any — to come up to where he was leav- 
ing, instead of going at once to the front, where the guns 
of the enemy were already heard? Did any body ever 
hear of a general sitting down on a log near his gun- 
boats, as he says, but, as others say, in them, with a 



456 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

large part of his army crowded like wild cattle in a corral, 
ready for the slaughter, without making a single effort to 
rally them back, or to run them into a safe retreat? 

Gen. Bazil Duke, several years ago, wrote a lengthy 
and elaborate article for the Cincinnati Gazette on the 
subject of Shiloh, which attracted much attention, and was 
reprinted in the Southern Bivotiac. His view is from a 
Confederate standpoint, and is that of one who had an 
intimate and unpleasant acquaintance with the battle-field. 

After Gen. Grant's account of the battle of Shiloh ap- 
peared in the Cenhiry Magazine, Gen. Duke contributed 
an article to the Louisville Post, and which was published 
in that paper under date of February 4, 1885. From this 
article I extract the following passages: 

' ' I gave you my opinion of his (Gen. Grant's) article in the 
Century. He does not adduce any facts to sustain his positions, 
but deals chiefly in generalities. He does not give a history, or 
particularized description of the battle of Shiloh. It is throughout 
a defense of his tactics and manceuvers in the battle, and especi- 
ally a reply to the proven charge that he was surprised on Sun- 
day morning, April 6, 1862. A perusal shows that he has not 
brought any proof to his side. His argument in regard to the 
death of Johnston is poor and without basis. He claims that the 
latter was killed in rallying his broken troops, when he was shot 
as he led a victorious charge on an almost impregnable position. 
As to the paper of Johnston's son, I believe that it is correct 
throughout, and a good view of the battle of Shiloh. 

"You ask: 'When Gen. Sidney Johnston planned and led the 
assault on Grant, was he not aware that Wallace and Buell were 
not far off? And did he not know that they would come to their 
commander's aid with fresh men?' 

"I answer: He was well aware that they were not far off, but 
it was his intention to attack Grant and crush him before they 
could have arrived to his relief. His death caused this arrange- 
ment to miscarry ; but it would have been successful had all gone 
as was preconcerted. Beaureguard, as I said before, was in the 
rear on a sick-bed, and his position necessarily rendered him igno- 
rant of the exact condition of affairs on the ground, where the 
battle was actually going on between the two armies. A continu- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 457 

ation of the effective charge would have utterly routed their line, 
and shattered Grant's army. Instead, the word to withdraw was 
given, and the victory was abandoned. Opportunity was given for 
the federal reinforcements to cover Grant's army. At sundown 
Gen. Lew. Wallace and his troops reached the federal position. 
He was, 1 suppose, about six miles off during the day; and had 
to cross Snake Creek to meet Grant. Buell was on the other side 
of the river; and in the night crossed, bringing an overwhelming 
body of fresh men to face our exhausted troops in Monday morn- 
ing's battle. 

"Accurately as can be learned, during Sunday's fight, we had 
39,000 men on the field. The enemy exceeded us about 2,000, 
numbering a little over 41,000. Wallace's body of troops amounted 
to 5,000. Buell carried across the river 20,000 troops to aid against 
us. They then had nearly as many new men to bring before us as 
composed our entire army, and were aided by their gun-boats on 
the river. This is my opinion of Grant at Shiloh : I think his gen- 
eralship was very poor, and he displayed no fine military tactics. 
He was surprised in his tents and routed. The rout was stayed by 
the death of Albert Sidney Johnston, and he was saved by the ar- 
rival of Wallace and Buell. Otherwise, his army would have been 
destroyed and captured. He had no accurate knowledge of John- 
ston's motions ; and did not know when he was going to be as- 
saulted. He was always on the defensive, while his enemy was 
taking the other course. He was like a man who sits supinely, 
and waits for his opponent to strike him before he knows where 
he is and can strike back." 

Per contra: in the foregoing statement we find ample 
support for that which Gen. Sherman said to Gen. Wilson, 
as mentioned by the latter in his "Reminiscences of Gen. 
Grant," in the October (1885) number of the Century 
Magazine, p. 947 : 

"Wilson, I am a great deal smarter man than Grant. I see 
things more quickly than he does. I know more about law, and 
history, and war, and nearly every thing else than he does; but 
I '11 tell you where he beats me, and where he beats the world. 
He don't care for what he can't see the enemy doing; and it 
scares me like hell!" 

In the meantime the projected policy of 1862 had 



45§ MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

been put in force ; and the Southern otates were to be 
dragooned by force of arms, if need be, into Republican 
Party support. I wrote from St. Petersburg my letter 
of 1866 to the Louisville Journal, in which I denounced 
the ultra and unconstitutional measures of Sumner and 
Stephens ; and the Kentucky State Republican Convention 
declared similar views. I could never submit to a policy 
which destroyed the vital principle of all rule by the peo- 
ple — the untrammeled voice of the majority of the citi- 
zens entitled to the franchise. 

When I arrived in New York, in 1869, Spanish gun- 
boats were fitted out in New York harbor, whilst the 
Cuban masters and their liberated slaves were spied out, 
and all their ships and material confiscated. It was the 
policy of my great namesake, in 181 7, Henry Clay, to put 
all revolutionary people of the American Continent upon 
an equality with the dominant governments at home ; and 
so the laws of that time were changed to meet the upris- 
ing of the people on this continent against their autocratic 
masters in Europe. Thus the Republican Party, under 
Grant's lead, not being able to rob the black Republic of 
Hayti of their liberty and property, turned their backs 
upon the poor Revolutionists of Cuba. I denounced the 
whole project. A great meeting of the friends of Cuba 
was called in the Cooper Institute. I was made the 
leader of the movement. The venerable benefactor of 
this great charity, Peter Cooper, was present. He gave 
me a most cordial welcome — our acquaintance being of 
long standing. In the meantime it was suspected that I 
would not spare the administration. ' I was imprudent 
enough to say so. The house was full to overflowing. 

I was advised several days before that the New York 
Custom-House dependents would interrupt me ; but I had 
confidence in my ability to master a mob. I made the 
grave mistake, however, to put the thugs, burglars, and 
shoulder-hitters of a cosmopolitan city like New York 
upon the same level with the gallant, ferocious, but mag- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 459 

nanimous Kentuckians. At Frankfort, in i860, it is said 
that I spoke to 10,000 men from the State-House steps 
in the dark, and yet not a hard word was spoken. But, 
in Louisville, in the year 1851, before the same kind of 
roughs, I was stoned in the dark by those who cowered 
in my presence under gas-light. I should have formed a 
more correct idea of city bummers and dead-beats ! 

When I arose, on being announced, I began my speech 
with a short preface, showing why I had not remained in 
the army, and for which I had been denounced for long 
years unheard ; but I was at once interrupted by this 
squad of a few hundred men, who made such a clamor 
that I could not be heard. 

Thus I, who had never failed to secure, in the slave 
States, a hearing, was, in the free city of New York, 
silenced ! 

The resolutions drawn up by • me were unanimously 
passed — Horace Greeley, being chairman of the meeting, 
reading them. I was also made President of the Cu- 
ban Charitable Aid Society, and Horace Greeley Vice- 
President. Thus the claquers were silent at the most im- 
portant time, and I carried off a substantial victory ; for 
they knew nothing about the resolutions, or me being 
made the president of the new society. 

As the Trifome, with other papers, made a false report 
of what I said, I wrote out a short summary of my speech, 
and, carrying it to the desk of the Tribune, left it. The 
next day that journal announced its refusal to publish it, 
saying it was not their business to repeat such reports, and 
which was to their readers but as "an old almanac." No 
names were mentioned ; but I and the public, of course, 
knew it had reference to me. Determined to have myself 
rightly stated before the public, I went next day to the 
advertising department, and paid about eighty-three dol- 
lars for its insertion, and took a receipt. This I carried 
over to Charles A. Dana of the Sun, and showed him; 
at which he seemed much astonished. He published my 



460 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

summary, saying editorially that it was the ablest argument 
yet made on the Cuban side; and charged, of course, noth- 
ing for this act of justice. The next day the Tribune came 
out with my correction in a conspicuous place, and said a 
few words editorially in my favor. 

The following extracts from a popular and lengthy 
notice of Dana shows how few are up to the level of the 
heroes of all ages. Without the many qualities here some- 
what deprecated, the editor of the Sun would have sunk to 
the common level of men who, in self-devotion, lose si^ht 
of the public good, and are, and of course ought to be, 
forgotten : 

CHARLES A. DANA. 

"The gifted and erudite editor of the Sun was born in Hins- 
dale, New Hampshire, sixty-one years ago. The New England 
stock of Danas is a very old one, and comes originally from Italy. 
It is not impossible that, like the Salas, the Costas, and other 
English and American descendants of Italian ancestors, it contains 
a drop of the Hebrew blood of Venice and Florence of the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries. 

"The present standing of the New York Sim is entirely the 
result of the work of its editor, both in the financial and journal- 
istic sense. Upon retiring, in 1862, from the Tribune, to which 
he gave a power and influence until then unknown in the Ameri- 
can press, Mr. Dana was called to official life by Edwin Stanton, 
the Secretary of War. He became a member of several committees 
of the War Department, and was finally appointed Assistant Secre- 
tary of War, a post which he held until the close of the Rebellion. 
In 1865 he went to Chicago as editor of the Republican ; and, about 
a year after, made about $10,000 by selling out his interest in that 
paper. This was his first step toward financial prosperity. Two 
years later he formed the Sun Association, and took charge of the 
paper on the first of January, 1868. What he has made of the 
then obscure and decaying sheet is known to eveybody on this 
continent. The Sun has paid a dividend of forty per cent, upon 
its original stock of $350,000; and shares of $1,000 each have 
recently changed hands at $2,400 apiece. 

"The manner in which the Sun is conducted is perfectly un- 
ique in its way. Its contributors enjoy perfect liberty of action. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 46 1 

With the exception of the ' desk men, ' nobody is bound to at- 
tend the office at any fixed hour. No member of the staff is 
compelled to write upon any subject he does not care to treat, or 
does not know enough about to do credit to the journal. The 
pay is as liberal, if not more so, than on any other New York 
paper; and the relations of the editor to his employes is rather 
that of a friend than of a superior officer. The even temper and 
courtesy of Dana have become proverbial among those who know 
him well. But if he is a true friend to those he likes, he is an 
unrelenting enemy to those whom he dislikes. The popular ver- 
dict has compared him to a bull-dog in the tenacity with which 
he holds his prey, when he has once seized it. This relentless- 
ness has done the Sun a great deal of good, but it has done Mr. 
Dana personally a great deal of harm. His erudition, his courtesy, 
and his amiable temperament ought to have made him a much 
more popular man than he is. But the bitterness of his enmity to 
every form of corruption has caused many people to dread him. 

"His accomplishments are almost boundless. There is not a 
subject of literature, art, or science in which he does not take a 
deep interest. He speaks French, Italian, German, and Spanish 
with equal facility. Within a few years he established a class of 
Icelandic among the young associates of his son, and became quite 
enthusiastic in the acquirement of that particular useless language, 
upon the plea that it was absolutely necessary for a thorough 
knowledge of English." 

In a storm at sea the thousand of passengers amount 
to nothing ; it is the single captain, the governing mind, 
who counts. So, in our degenerate times, Dana has been 
the one editor who has stood boldly forth as the advocate 
of honesty in political affairs. That doggedness of pur- 
pose which the amiable editor of The Hour, from which I 
quote, almost deprecates, has been a prime force in the 
salvation of the Nation. The genius of Dana, like that 
of all great thinkers, cares little for any thing but princi- 
ple. He attacks error and dishonesty in public leadership, 
wherever he sees them, without regard to party. Like 
every true lover of self-government, he is a Democrat, 
but not necessarily of the Democratic Party. And Demo- 
crats, when it becomes a duty, receive the same fiery de- 



462 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

nunciation which drove the stolid Grant and his corrupt 
followers from power.* Among our fifty millions of peo- 
ple, for the last ten years one man has stood preeminent 
above presidents, politicians, and scholars. — That man is 
Charles A. Dana. 

What was the burden of my offense with the American 
press? That I had not gone to the war instead of to Rus- 
sia. I was not a warrior by profession ; I had not been 
educated at West Point ; I was not a soldier of the recm- 
lar army. I was a politician — politics was my profession. 
Now I ask, why should a politician be required to go to 
war and the editor remain at home to abuse him? Why 
did not Messrs Bennett, Raymond, Greeley, and others 
go to battle? I voluntarily volunteered to save Washing- 
ton from capture, and did so. Why was that service for- 
gotten ? I did more than any man to overthrow slavery. I 
carried Russia with us, and thus prevented what would have 
been the strong alliance of France, England, and Spain 
against us; and thus was saved the Union! I was one of 
the principal factors, at least so all admit, in these three 
great events. Why did I not get some word of gratitude 
for these services? Simply because it was known, as far 
back as 1862, that I would never go with these gentlemen 
in the wicked and fruitless policy, by which the South was 
finally made "solid," and the Republican Party brought to 
grief and death ! 

*Dana, in his late review of Grant's cabinet, speaks of the 
"Weak Fish." These are the fish which are found about New 
York harbor, and which are game contemned by all anglers — 
worthy synonyms are they, who, with Badeau, make war upon 
women — the wives of Catacazy and the Prince of Wales ! — greedy 
cormorants, political lazarom, and treasury-robbers! who brought 
a great party and a great country to shame! 



CHAPTER XXIII 



Hamilton Fish, W. H. Seward's successor, reproduces the latter's False- 
hoods and Calumnies against me. — On sight of same i publish my re- 
sponse, WITH LETTERS FROM RUSSIAN NOBILITIES AND DIGNITARIES TRIUM- 
PHANTLY VINDICATING ME. — THE GRAND DUKE ALEXIS OF RUSSIA EXTENDS TO 
ME DISTINGUISHED HONOR, AT ST. LOUIS. — H. FlSH & CO. FAIL AS CONCLU- 
SIVELY as W. H. Seward & Co. in securing my condemnation. 



IN the Cincinnati Commercial, one day during the Presi- 
dential campaign of 1872, appeared the following, as 
a part of its Washington correspondence : 

An Uncalled-for Personal Assault on the Character of Hon. Cassins 
M. Clay — A Story that Needs Much Confirmation. 

The following affidavit, which in the files of the State Depart- 
ment fails to become a part of the official records there only be- 
cause, the petitioners being foreigners, no notice could be taken 
of the same. The Administration is doing a good deal of this 
kind of business; and the paper upon which this affidavit is writ- 
ten is State-Department paper, by a State-Department clerk, and 
furnished by a State-Department official: 

"St. Petersburg, April 19, 1866. 
"I, the undersigned, Eliza Leonard, of Dublin, Ireland, wife 
of Jean Christian Chautems, citizen of Moteers, Canton of Fri- 
bourg, in Switzerland, house-steward to the fottrrier of the Imperial 
Court of Russia, declare and affirm the truth of the following 
statement: Last year my commercial affairs were so bad that I 
was threatened with complete ruin. Under these circumstances, 
and appearing to take an interest in my misfortunes, Gen. Clay, 
the Minister of the United States of North America, declared 
himself to be our protector and friend. The first attache of the 
Embassy of my country in Russia, Mr, Saville Lumley, as like- 
wise several Americans, made a subscription in our behalf, and 
intrusted Gen. Clay with the sum thus raised for our poor chil- 

463 



464 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

dren, and to save our furniture, etc., which the police threatened 
to sell immediately. The general was requested to hire a lodging 
for us, with the sum thus raised, for one year, and in the name 
of a third person. Not then understanding his motives for taking 
such an interest in our affairs, and having no reason to be on my 
guard against him, I raised no objection to his hiring a lodging 
on the Vassile Ostoff, thirteenth line house, Oussoff No. 2. He 
redeemed those contracts, the terms of which had expired, by 
paying the sums due to my creditors. 

"After that our house was ever open to the general, with 
whom we became very intimate, and who often came of an even- 
ing to partake of our tea for a motive very easy to understand now. 
He obtained an order from the Governor-General of St. Petersburg, 
whom he deceived by false reports, for my husband to leave his 
home. Pleased with his first result, he took advantage of his high 
position to beg of my youngest daughter's godmother, the Grand 
Duchess Catharine, to place her in the institution of St. Helen, 
where she is to the present day. My health being in a weak state, 
the cares of the household devolved on my elder daughter, who was 
hardly fourteen years of age. From this time the general's visits 
became more frequent ; and once, upon pretext of a drive, he took 
my daughter in his equipage to the Islands. 

"Here my feelings as a mother overcome me, and I can not 
refrain from weeping in writing these lines. He had a conversa- 
tion with my daughter, which she, in her innocence and simplicity, 
did not understand. Furious at not having succeeded in his infa- 
mous designs last month, and taking advantage of a moment when 
my daughter, whom he had sent on some commission, was out, 
and my servant was likewise not at home, the general attacked 
me most brutally; and I was only saved by the unexpected arrival 
of my daughter, who had made use of the general's equipage, to 
perform her mission, and thus returned sooner than he expected. 
Interrupted in his criminal attempts, he obliged me, ill and in bed, 
to sign a paper by which I recognized that I had received certain 
sums of him, exceeding those sent me by my benefactors. 

"Since then I wrote the general a letter demanding an exact 
settling of all our accounts, and also requesting him to return me 
my jewels, which I had intrusted to his care, and sent it by my 
daughter, accompanied by her sister. He tried to persuade the 
former to accompany him into one of his more retired rooms, 
under the pretext that he had something of the greatest import- 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 465 

ance to communicate to her, which he could not do in the pres- 
ence of her little sister. She answered that her sister Catharine 
might hear all he had to say to her, and refused following him. 
He insisted, but happily my children at last escaped out of that 
terrible house. Then — and I shudder at the thought — I under- 
stood the intentions of the general, who, under the mask of friend- 
ship and benevolence, wished to dishonor a poor family, already so 
tried by misfortune. 

"This is the exact statement of the facts, of which I am ready 
to take my Bible oath. I should wish the affair to be investigated. 
I am ready to furnish any information that may be required of the 
statement which has now been written under my dictation, and to 
sign with my blood. Eliza Chautems. 

We have here the evidence of a political ally that 
the Immortal Fish was the co-conspirator with Seward, 
Stewart, and the other banditti to calumniate me, as well 
as to swindle the Czar. He wrote to me that Grant was 
the friend of Seward, and that political reasons only had 
caused his retirement. Madame Chautems told me that 
when Stewart was in St. Petersburg he boarded with her. 
Grant seems to have been equally unfortunate in his con- 
nection with the Fishes. One of the name broke down 
and ruined him, as a cabinet officer, and another, as a 
banker, in Wall Street. 

Mrs. Chautems' charges in her letter are so absurd 
that I should never think it worth while to refute them, 
were I not in a political canvass. She was over forty 
years old, with chronic bronchitis all the time I knew her, 
confining her for weeks to her bed ; with a most offensive 
breath ; and, even had she been virtuous, she was decid- 
edly passed Her daughter, a handsome, but very im- 
mature girl, was sent* often to my house alone ; so that I 
forbade my servants to allow her entrance. The mother 
was now doing her best — what she had accused her hus- 
band before of attempting — to sell her daughter's chas- 
tity. In her letter she charges me with designs upon 
the virtue of herself and daughter; in her petition to 
Congress she accuses me of theft of her jewels and 
Vol. I. — 30 



466 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

bonds, and housebreaking! The Immortal Fish & Co., 
no doubt, thought the omission of these last charges 
was best. The grossest credulity can not swallow every 
thing! 

As soon as I saw the foregoing, I wrote the following, 
which, with the proof in form of accompanying letters, 
was published in the Richmond (Ky.) Register of Septem- 
ber 6, 1872 : 

The Grant Conspirators as Calumniators — Ccesarisin brings with it 
New Pliascs in Political Action. 
Editor of Register — 

Dear Sir: — Heretofore it was the character of the candidate 
for the presidency which was the subject of public consideration ; 
now every independent citizen who will not support Grant, and 
yield up all the defenses of free government, must be calumniated 
and destroyed. Every prominent man who has dared to canvass 
against Grant has been studiously defamed. I have not been too 
obscure to escape. So soon as I came out against Grant in my 
St. Louis speech, in 1871, I was attacked about the same day — 
February 16th — in the New York Tribune, New York Herald, and 
the New York Evening Post, all three then Grant journals. On 
the 2 2d of February, in the New York Evening Post, I forever 
silenced all those calumnies by giving the letter of the Hon. Henry 
Wilson, and twelve letters from the imperial family of Russia and 
the most distinguished nobles of that empire, showing that Russia 
never asked my recall, and that my social standing, up to the time 
of my leaving Russia in 1869, was of the highest order. Those 
letters are now in the hands of Wm. C. Bryant, Esq., of the 
Post, and the President, and the Secretary of State, Hamilton Fish, 
can see and take copies of the originals now in my possession. 
But my assaults have been so damaging to the Grant conspirators, 
wherever I have addressed the people, that it has been by them 
thought advisable to explore the archives of the State Department 
to find something to arrest the force of my canvass ; and in this 
they halt at neither the law which forbids the use of the records 
of the Foreign Department for such publication, and are not 
ashamed to violate all the proprieties which forbid those attacks 
upon private character, which spread, if true or false, dismay and 
mortification through the whole circle of family relations and 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 467 

friends, without any compensating public good — conduct which 
the civilization of all ages has denounced as infamous. 



THE CHAUTEMS CALUMNY. 

Eliza Leonard, an English subject living in St. Petersburg, 
married a Swiss named Jean Chautems. She kept a restaurant in 
that city in her own name, her husband having failed, but who 
still aided her, being esteemed the best cook in the capital. Here 
I made the acquaintance of the madam and her two daughters, 
one about thirteen and the other eleven years old. Soon madam 
also failed, and was sent to prison. Her eldest daughter ran to 
my house and implored my help. I went at once to the restau- 
rant, where they also lived, and found that the Hon. John Saville 
Lumley, the British first Secretary of Legation, had taken madam 
out of prison ; but there they were, without a cent, with two girls 
destitute of clothes and food, and a Russian winter coming on. 
Every charitable Christian man would do what I and Lumley did. 
He gave her about three hundred rubles, being, as subordinates 
generally, on a poor salary; and I supplied the balance of the 
money to rent for her a new house, and purchase the furniture 
then in her house. She promised to repay me from the profits 
of her boarders, and a certain sum from the wages of her hus- 
band, as cook for Russian families. Finding, after awhile, that 
the Chautems were not worthy of my charity; that they were steal- 
ing and selling the furniture, and that they never paid me any thing 
as agreed, I caused the police to turn them out of the house, and 
by a decree of a court I sold the furniture to pay part, a very 
small part of the debt they owed me — no other person having 
contributed any thing to this charity but myself and Mr. Lumley, 
whose contribution had been paid to Mrs. Chautems in money by 
me, her receipt taken and given to him. 

Madame Chautems immediately commenced a system of black- 
mail against me — all of which I absolutely resisted. She sued 
me in the courts ; but, as soon as the Russian authorities found it 
out, they ordered her to be sent at once out of the empire ; which 
was prevented by the British Embassador, Sir Andrew Buchanan, 
saying it was the fault of the Russian court that my ministerial 
privilege was violated, and not the fault of Madame Chautems, a 
British subject. Madame Chautems, failing to make any impres- 
sion upon me, invoked the intercession of Ex-Assistant Secretary 
Fox, who came on to present the Czar with the letter of Con- 



468 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

gress congratulating him upon his escape from assassination in 
1866. Mr. Fox handed the letter over to me, of course, treating 
her demand with contempt. She then sent a petition to the Con- 
gress of the United States, embracing the most infamous charges 
against me, most of which had not been mentioned in her letter 
to Mr. Fox. This petition, with hundreds of others, was referred 
by resolution without being read to the several committees — this 
one to the Committee of Foreign Affairs — and was by them re- 
turned to the House, and again without being read was referred 
to the State Department. ^See letter A.) Wm. H. Seward then 
sent it, with an anonymous pamphlet styled " Forty Chapters 
upon Clay," to me, saying Congress required me to answer — a 
cowardly and infamous lie, as S. Colfax's letter proves. (See dis- 
patch B.) 

I immediately, seeing myself arraigned by my own Govern- 
ment before all Europe, upon the baseless calumnies of an anony- 
mous writer, and the petition and declaration of a common prosti- 
tute, answered them all, and sent them, charges and refutation, to 
Prince Gortchacow, accompanied with a letter waiving my privi- 
leges as a minister, and asking a full inquiry from the Russian 
courts, and subjecting myself, if guilty, to all the penalties of 
Russian law. In a little while the Minister of the Court of 
Secret Justice, Count Schouvaloff, returned all the papers, begging 
me to pay no attention to one who was well known to the police 
as a bad character, and that he claimed no jurisdiction in the 
case. Prince Gortchacow, when asked what I should do, said: 
' ' Nothing ; your own past life is the best refutation of such ca- 
lumnies. " 

I then wrote to Sir Andrew Buchanan, reproaching him with 
refusing to contribute to the Chautems' charity, and interfering 
when she was to have been punished for her crimes. He wrote 
me two magnanimous letters, acquitting me of all blame; which 
letters I sent to the State Department, and the publication of 
which I now demand of Hamilton Fish in my defense. (See 
letters C. and D. , etc.) 

C. M. Clay. 
White Hall, Ky. , September 3, 1872. 

[A — No. 1.] 

St. Petersburg, Ra., April 18, 1867, N. S. 
I, the undersigned, counsellor in St. Petersburg, do declare that 
I was the authorized attorney of C. M. Clay in the purchase of the 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 469 

furniture of Eliza Chautems, the wife of Jean Chautems, a Swiss 
subject, resident in the city of St. Petersburg; and that the said 
Clay paid through me to Messrs. Brickoff, Zakoleff, and others, 
chirteen hundred and twenty-five rubles, part of which money was 
to save Madame Chautems from criminal prosecution — she having, 
in violation of law, taken up money on this furniture already 
pledged. I declare that Mr. J., and Madame E. Chautems were 
both notorious bankrupts before and at the time of the purchase 
of said furniture by me for said Clay. That the time of the liens 
having expired, it resulted that the legal title was entirely in the 
said Clay, being duly recorded in the proper courts according to 
law. And I further declare that no other person paid any part of 
said purchase money. I further state that the house Oussoff was 
rented by said Clay, and paid for by him, and by no other person. 
That Madame Chautems was legally ejected, and the furniture sold 
for said Clay's benefit. I further declare that all the personal prop- 
erty not named in said Clay's recorded list of furniture was allowed 
by said Clay to Madame Chautems ; and taken by her creditors for 
their own use, according to law. I declare further that I drew up 
said Clay's answer to Madame Chautems' suit; that I advised him 
that she could not recover a copeck against him, but advised him 
also to make the defense of privilege, as I believed her object was 
solely to calumniate him, or to extort money. 

Arkady Nicanoff, 

Aulic Counsellor. 

[A — No. 9.] 

I, Arkady Nicanoff, Aulic Counsellor, do certify that I have 
seen the list of furniture set forth in the petitions of Eliza and 
Jean Chautems to the Congress of the United States, and that 
the most valuable things had been taken and sold by Eliza Chau- 
tems and her husband, contrary to law, viz.: silverware, table-linen 
and napkins, service of glass, and all that was most valuable. The 
penalties of which breach of law were removed from possibility of 
execution by moneys paid by C. M. Clay, and that they were not 
on his list. 

I also certify that I made out and registered in the court of 
"Uprava Dwarrenchinia " (" le tribunal de police, premier department 
de St. Petersbourg,") the furniture sold by it, and bought by C. M. 
Clay, by the decree of said court, and put into the possession of 
said Clay in the house Oussoff; and that the most valuable things 
were abstracted secretly by the Chautems, and could not be found 



470 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

on the sealings of said property for said Clay's security; for which 
the said Eliza Chautems could have been criminally prosecuted and 
convicted. For instance : a service of porcelain, sold for one hun- 
dred rubles by her, was found with Leon Mandelstramm, 13th 
line, St. Petersburg ; which he was ready to return to said Clay. 
And a writing-desk was found in the possession of Lewenged of 
St. Petersburg. Which prosecution said Clay, through mercy to 
Madame Chautems and her children, declined to make. All of 
which I know to be true. Arkady Nicanoff, 

Aulic Counsellor. 

Consulate, U. S. A., St. Petersburg, Ra. May 8, 1867. 
I, the undersigned George Pomutz, Consul of the United States 
of America, at St. Petersburg, Russia, do hereby certify that the 
foregoing two affidavits (Numbered A — 1 and 9,) are true copies 
of the originals now before me, both of which were duly acknowl- 
edged by me. 

Witness my hand and the seal of this consulate hereto attached 
the day and date above written. George Pomutz, 

( L. S. ) United States Consul. 

[A.] 

London, May 2, 1866. 

Personally appeared before me, Denison Chauncey Pierce, of 
the State of New York, United States of America, temporarily 
residing in London, being sworn, says, that he never did, at any 
time, pay to his Excellency, Gen. C. M. Clay, for or on account 
of Madame Chautems, or her husband, for rent, furniture, or any 
other purpose, five hundred rubles.* And further that he never did 
pay his Excellency, Gen. C. M. Clay, or any other person, for or 
on account of said Madame Chautems, or her husband, any sum or 
sums whatsoever, at any time. All of which is true, so help me 
God. D. C. Pierce. 

Sworn and subscribed to before me this the 2d day of May, 
A. D., 1866, in the Consulate of the United States, at London 

Joshua Nunn, Deputy Consul. 

[A-6.] 
English Church, St. Petersburg, Aug. 13, 1866, N. S. 
Sir: — Returned from England yesterday, and found your Ex- 
cellency's note of the 7th inst. awaiting me. Mrs. Chautems has in- 

* She averred that Pierce, among others, had given me 500 rubles for her. — C. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 47 1 

troduced herself to me — as any one, so disposed, may do — and, 
pleading distress, made "allegations injurious" to your Excellency's 
"character." To those allegations, however, I am in no true sense 
a "witness," and have certainly no just warrant for believing or 
attesting them. When, some months ago, an advertisement ap- 
peared in some Russian paper referring "the charitably disposed" 
to me, as to one who could testify to the truth of certain statements 
made by a person in some respects answering to Eliza Chautems, I 
felt it my duty to send another advertisement, denying that I had 
given any authority for such reference to be made to me. I am, 
your Excellency, your obedient servant, 

Arthur S. Thompson. 
To His Excellency, Gen. Clay, 

Embassador of the United States of America, etc. 

[A-7-] 
General : — I told mamma that you asked to come and see us. 
She has no objection ; but, on the contrary, will be very happy to 
see you. As we leave for the country on Saturday, mamma will 
wait for you till 4 o'clock to-morrow, Friday, the 10th. 

Fifth line N — 12; Login N — 7. 

Leontine. * 
Thursday evening, the 9th June, 1866. 

[B.] 
Chicago, III., May 18, 1867. 
My Dear Sir: — Lecturing every day, your letter, through the 
State Department, has just reached me here, remailed. All I know 
of the matter is that my secretary presented the petition, with hun- 
dreds of others of all kinds directed to me officially, and this one 
was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. I never read 
it, nor even heard of it, till my colleague, Hon. G. S. Orth, of 
Lafayette, Ind. , a member of that committee, told me he had read 
it, and that it was referred by the committee to the State Depart- 
ment. Congress, therefore, tiever heard of it; nor do I know any 
thing of it except what my colleague incidentally told me, and he 
did not have any faith in it. He can furnish you full particulars. 
In great haste, yours truly, Schuyler Colfax. 

*This letter was written after all her mother's charges against me, and after she 
was turned out of my house. Meeting her on the street, I asked her, as stated, with 
a view of defending myself, if need be. — C, 1885. 



47.2 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

[B — 2.] 

The Ckautems and "Synopsis of Forty Chapters upon Clay" Calum- 
nies. — Extract from Urn. H. Seward's Dispatch, No. 242, 
of April 1, 1867, 

Your attention is respectfully invited to all these papers, in 
order that the request of the House of Representatives may be 
properly complied with.* I am, sir, your obedient servant, 

Will. H. Seward. 
Cassius M. Clay, Esq., etc., etc. 

[C] 

Copy of General Mczentsojf 's Letter against Ckautems, translated from 
the original, on fie in State Department — Dispatch No. 238. 

Chancery of His Majesty the Emperor, 
3d Section, 2d Bureau, April 18, 1869. 

General : — I hasten to satisfy a demand expressed in your 
letter of the 4th of April, 1869, to confirm for the present: 

1st. That the letter inserted in the Swiss journal Bund, of the 
number of May 21, 1868, concerning the Chautems, without being 
authorized in form, nor destined for publication, contains in sub- 
stance a summary of the intelligence taken by the Third Section 
upon the antecedents of the Chautems ; and communicated in a 
special notice, in consequence of a letter at the instance of a Rus- 
sian lady, wounded in her national sensibility by averments un- 
worthy and calumnious, made by the Chautems at a hotel table in 
Berne, upon the estimate of her country, and the reflections made 
upon her in consequence, she believed herself obliged to cite the 
Chautems before the local tribunals of justice, after having learned 
what was their position at St. Petersburg. 

2d. That there was a formal decree f of a competent court of 
April 28, 1868, pronounced after trial and an examination of facts 
and incontestable documents, in consequence of which the furniture 
belonging to Mr. Clay was adjudged to him, whilst delivering to 

* Another infamous lie of Seward. The anonymous calumnies of the "Synop- 
sis of the Forty Chapters upon Clay" were never sent to Congress at all. — C, 1S85. 

t This decree was confirmatory of the action of the first court which sold the 
furniture, Mrs. Chautems having brought suit against B. C. Goldschmidt, my super- 
intendent, for the furniture. The second decree was rendered, it seems, after she had 
escaped by flight from Russia. — C, 1885. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 473 

the Chautems family what of right belonged to them. As to the 
police, it only executed a legal decree. 

Be pleased to accept the expression of my most distinguished 
consideration. Nicholas Mezentsoff. 

The Imperial ministry of Foreign Affairs certifies that the above 
is the true signature of General-Major Mezentsoff of the suite of His 
Majesty the Emperor, Chief of Staff — Major of the Corps of Gend- 
armes, and commanding the Third Section of the Special Chancery 
of His Imperial Majesty. In testimony whereof the said Ministry 
has affixed to these presents its seal. St. Petersburg, the 23d of 
April, 1869, N. S. 

The Vice-Director of the Department of Interior Relations.* 

Demidoff. 
N. Hann, R. S. 

From the Swiss "Bund" of May 21, 1868. — {See original in the 
State Department — Dispatch No. 238.) 

Chancery of His Majesty the Emperor, 
3d Section, Bureau . . . No. 521, April 30, 1868, N. S. 
Madam: — Count Schouvaloff, Aid-de-camp-general, charges me 
to inform you that the following are the advices upon the conduct 
of the married pair, Chautems, during their sojourn in St. Peters- 
burg, which you have been pleased to demand by your letter of 
the 6th of May. Accept, Madam, on this occasion, the assurance 
of my perfect consideration. Nicholas Mezentsoff. 

Translation: To Madame de Sangrato. The police of St. 
Petersburg possesses, with regard to the couple Chautems, infor- 
mation which casts a bad light upon their antecedents, and shows 
them to be people unworthy of confidence. The Sr. Chautems, 
after having been in the service of some Russian nobles, was at- 
tached to the house of her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess 
Helen, in the capacity of fonrncr. It was then that he bought 
for his wife an establishment of furnished apartments, having been 
forced to quit the house of the Grand Duchess. Chautems re- 
mained some time with his wife, who, in consequence of a domes- 
tic scandal, put him out of doors. Afterward Chautems, although 
without resources, succeeded in setting up a hotel; but he soon 

*This is the highest authority in Russia — as from the Emperor himself. The 
"Third Section" is the most confidential of the Emperor's servants, being in fact 
his life-guards. — C, 1885. 



474 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

made a failure, which is said to have been fraudulent. Sometime 
after, Madame Chautems asked of the authorities to be allowed to 
live alone from her husband, under the pretense that he wished to 
speculate upon the chastity of their oldest daughter. Neverthe- 
less, the affair of the failure being settled, they reunited themselves; 
and set up, in the name of Madame Chautems, a new restaurant. 
The husband was again driven away, and she in turn made a fail- 
ure ; after which they again reunited themselves, and continued to 
live together. In general, the couple Chautems enjoyed, at St. 
Petersburg, a very bad reputation with regard to their honor and 
morality. They were even accused of theft to the prejudice of 
persons who employed them. Finally, in the spring of 1867, 
the couple Chautems, in consequence of prosecutions commenced 
against them in Russia, brought on by their debts, escaped by flight 
to foreign countries. April, 1868. 

[E. — No. 1.] 

British Embassy, June 12, 1867. 
My Dear General: — I beg to acknowledge the receipt of 
your letter of the 9th instant, and to congratulate you on the sat- 
isfactory information which you have received from the United 
States as to the Chautems' affair. Believe me to be yours, very 
truly, 

Andrew Buchanan. 
Gen. Cassius M. Clay, 

Minister of the United States, etc. 

[E. — No. 2.] 

Boston, December 10, 1871. 
C. M. Clay, Esq., White Hall, Ky. 

Dear Sir: — I beg you thousand pardons for not having an- 
swered your very kind letter. I am and was so overwhelmed with 
business of all sorts that I really have not a moment leisure. Your 
kind message has been submitted to His Imperial Highness, and 
gratefully received. I am deeply grateful to you for your warm 
sympathy. You will see, bye and bye, that liars and calumniators 
will receive their reward. Heartily yours, C. Catacazy. 

[E.-No. 3.] 

Portsmouth, N. H., April 3, 1867. 
Dear General Clay: — I have your note of the 15th of March. 
I am very glad to find you well and happy. I have spent some 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 475 

time in Washington ; and, so far as you are concerned, you may 
rest in peace. Your friends have distributed a libellous pamphlet 

concerning you, but its own grossness destroys its object 

Wishing you health and happiness, I am, yours truly, 

G. V. Fox. 

CASSIUS M. CLAY AND THE RUSSIAN COURT. 



INTERESTING DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 



White Hall, Madison Co., Ky., February 10, 1872. 

W. C. Bryant, Editor of the Evening Post — 

Dear Sir: — The Cincinnati Commercial of January last gives 
what purports to be an editorial ' ' from the New York Evening 
Post," headed " Cassius M. Clay and the Russian Government." 

As you have verbally and by letter expressed your admiration 
of my character and public services, I am persuaded that such an 
article was never seen or heard of by yourself, for whom I have 
always entertained the highest respect 

Calumny is the tribute which every successful patriot must pay 
to the envy and malice of those who fail in life's struggle, and 
which I have ever treated perhaps with too much contempt, and 
which I only now refute because found in so reputable a journal 
as the Evening Post. 

In defense allow me to say: First — Prince Gortchacow never 
at any time "asked my recall." Second — No letter from him 
asking my recall was ever ' ' laid before the Senate Committee of 
Foreign Affairs." Third — "That Mr. Clay himself" never "always 
denied the assertions of Prince Gortchacow's unofficial letter," be- 
cause he never, till the Evening Post article, heard of such letter. 
Fourth — I leave to others to say, after reading the following let- 
ters, how far I was "respectable" at St. Petersburg, and what 
truth there is in any of the allegations against me: 

NO. I. LETTER FROM UNITED STATES SENATOR WILSON. 

"Senate Chamber, February 9, 1872. 
"Dear Sir: — In reply to your letter of the 27th ultimo, I 
have pleasure in informing you that I have made careful inquiry 
respecting the communication alleged to have been sent to the 
Committee of Foreign Affairs of the Senate, requesting your re- 
call, and I am satisfied that no such letter was ever received. I 



476 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

think, therefore, you may give yourself no uneasiness on the sub- 
ject. Yours very truly, 

"H. Wilson. 
"Hon. C. M. Clay." 

[Here follow two letters — one from the Empress, and another 
from the Grand Duke Alexander — which, as they are in French, 
we omit.] 

NO. 4. FROM THE BROTHER-IN-LAW OF THE EMPEROR. 

'My Dear General: — I am most happy to be able to fulfill a 
wish of yours, and send you accordingly my photographical image, 
and a specimen of my handwriting. 
' ' Yours most respectfully and truly. 

' ' Count Gr. Stroganoff. 
3-15, December, 1867." 

[Mr. Clay appends a dozen other letters from distinguished 
persons, which we are compelled to omit, and adds:] 

I could produce similar letters from the legations of every court 
in Europe and from the first nobles in Russia till my return home, 
but you are ready to say, no doubt, "jam satis!" In regard to 
Mr. Seward, so far from his "sustaining Mr. Clay as a faithful 
minister," he was always my bitterest enemy ever since I refused 
to sustain him in i860 against Abraham Lincoln and Chase. He 
recalled me in 1862, under false pretenses, as is shown in Abraham 
Lincoln's letter, published in my life, in "Men of Progress." He 
was my chief calumniator, as the archives of the State Department 
prove, and would have recalled me but that the Senate refused 
always to allow it, till, nine months after he went out of office, I 
returned home ; and which I would have gladly done years before, 
but that I did not intend to allow him a victory over me. 

In conclusion, I will add that her Imperial Highness the Grand 
Duchess Marie (Dagmar), to be the future Czarina of Russia, paid 
me the distinguished honor to ask my photograph, which now 
hangs framed in her palace at St. Petersburg. Sir Andrew Buch- 
anan, the British Embassador, and William L. Winans, Esq., gave 
me parting dinners, at which the most distinguished persons in 
St. Petersburg were present; and the Grand Duke Alexis avowed 
lately at Louisville, through Admiral Possiet, that "he delayed 
his visit in America," on my account, to visit Kentucky. 



OF CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY. 477 

Trusting that those journals which have copied the Evening 
Post article will insert this defense, I remain, with respect, yours, 

C. M. Clay. 

Thus the representative of the British Empire, whose 
subject was said to have been wronged, and the highest 
officials and the Emperor, whose laws were alleged to 
have been violated, and the Committee of Foreign Affairs 
and the Senate, whose more immediate representative I 
was, — all stand united in my triumphant vindication against 
Seward's and the Immortal Fish's cowardly calumnies, and 
assure the world of my honorable conduct. 

When the Grand Duke Alexis visited the United States 
under the pledge of the Emperor to send some of his fam- 
ily, in answer to my invitation, he received me with distin- 
guished honor at St. Louis, where I was his guest, asking 
me to be seated, while other noted persons stood ; having 
a long talk with me about old times, and inviting me again 
to visit Russia. 

Again, when I was also by the city authorities of Louis- 
ville invited to meet him there, he said he had gone out of 
his way to visit my State. At the lunch given him at the 
Young Men's Club, he proposed and drank my health, and 
invited me, in the presence of all, to visit Russia again — 
an honor paid to me only. 

In standing for eight years on the dark side of the 
most unfortunate of America's administrations, Fish can 
not plead drunkenness in palliation of the disgrace he and 
Seward have brought, for the first time in our history, 
upon the Premiers of the Nation. These are the men 
who caused the long-suffering Grant to cry out: "Oh! 
there are things more terrible than death!" He, too, 
shall live with the destroyed — the destroyer. John An- 
dre fell with the traitor Arnold ; yet he was not Burns's 
"Johnny — who soul ne'er had onny," but a gallant spirit, 
who gave all for» his country — even honor. Let us, with 
Cyrus W. Field, shed a tear over his grave. He never 
sold his country for gold!. Peace to the fallen ! But oh ! 



478 MEMOIRS, WRITINGS, AND SPEECHES 

Fish Immortal! — Nothing of the $800,000 of blood-money 
has been divided between him and the Washington ban- 
ditti; for of that claim "not a copeck" has Russia paid! 
He did not even sell his town-lot to Catacazy ! Alas ! for 
the Immortal Fish! In the language of "English Bards 
and Scotch Reviewers," we must exclaim: 

"Oh! Amos Cottle! Phoebus, what a name 
To fill the speaking-trump of future fame!" 



CHAPTER XXIV 



George W. Julian of Indiana.— Men of Mason County, Kentucky, approve, 
in 1S45, THE suppression of the "True American."— Later Men of Mason 
County "Resolve" again.— In 1848 I propose the Frankfort Convention. 
Great progress made by 1849, AS shown by further "Resolves" of Men 
of Mason County,— I speak in Maysville; afterward in Brookville.— Am 
met by Wm. C. Marshall. — His tactics being defeated, as a Politician 
he is ruined.— Proposing to form a National Party, I invite G. W. Julian 
to assist me. — Marshall's later tactics overcome us, and we retire. — 
How his party supports Mr. Julian. 



GEORGE W. JULIAN, of Indiana, who was the Vice- 
Presidential candidate, in 1852, with John P. Hale, 
of the Free Soil Party, was now (1872) again a candidate 
for the same office. In 1850 he was invited by me to 
come to Kentucky and assist me in speaking in the bor- 
der counties of Lewis, Mason, and Bracken, which he did. 
To show his heroism and patriotism, we must go back two 
decades of years. 

Mason County was one of the most advanced in lib- 
eral sentiment in all Kentucky ; but, after the fall of the 
True American, in 1845, I was denounced. To mark the 
spirit of the times, and Julian's danger in venturing to 
speak in a slave State, I here introduce some of the in- 
cidents, an